tv NASA Administrator Testifies Before Senate Commerce Committee CSPAN March 14, 2019 3:39am-5:38am EDT
c-span. at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span two, the senate debates a resolution to terminate the president's national emergency declaration to build a wall on the u.s.-mexican border. c-span3,a.m. on commerce secretary wilbur ross of years before the house oversight committee to talk about the upcoming census including the addition of the citizenship question. the net'simony from administrator and office of space commerce director, kevin o'connell. they testified on efforts to boost u.s. space exploration. the hearing is just under two hours. astronauts to the moon. this is two hours.
this hearing will come to order. thank you all for being here. this morning we deal with the new space race. in his famous 1962 speech announcing that the united states would land on the moon by decades in, president john f. kennedy said, no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space. those words hold true today. we are delighted to have two witnesses who are helping to ensure that the united states maintains global leadership in space. the honorable jim bridenstine, administrator of the national aeronautics and kevin o'connell of the department of space commerce at the department of
commerce. we are grateful to have you here and thank you for your presence. look forward to your testimony. 2019 is an exciting year for space. july 20th will mark the 50th anniversary of the nasa apollo ii mission. i was in a dormitory in oxford, mississippi, on that particular date. hard to believe. which landed humans on the moon and fulfilled president kennedy's bold vision for human space exploration. by year's end, nasa commercial crew program will be launching american astronauts from american soil and by american companies. nasa's flagship human exploration program. the space launch system, sls, launched vehicle and orion spacecraft will likely achieve a number of milestones this year, including the core stage assembly and integration. that would be followed by test-firing, the core stage at dennis space center in
mississippi. the dedicated work force and testing assets at stennis show the importance of maintaining national space infrastructure and programs. we've entered into a new space race. this race is different from the one america won 50 years ago. the new space race has three dimensions. first, the united states must maintain its position as the international partner of choice, for current and aspiring spacefaring nations, strengthening international partnerships through cooperation on space endeavors enhancing our stage around the world. the international space station is a key part of the u.s. global leadership. but nasa's fy-2020 budget request proposes to end the funding for the iss in 2025. witnesses should detail opportunities to enhance space partnerships with other nations and demonstrate how the budget request supports those efforts. secondly, america must maintain our position as the focal point
for space commerce. we want space companies to be established and continue to grow in the united states. the global space industry is expected to grow from around $400 billion today to nearly $3 trillion over the next two decades. president trump has supported the commercial space industry through policies to streamline regulations for launch, remote sensing, spectrum usage and export control. in particular, i commend the vice president's leadership of the national space council, which has achieved interagency consensus on critical issues and provided bold and clear direction on space policy. perhaps mr. o'connell will address the current state of the industry and provide the committee with a progress report on meeting various space policy directives to promote the commercial space industry. administrator bridenstine should
also address nasa's role in partnering with commercial providers and growing the industry. and third, as competition in commercial space heats up, we must stay ahead of rising space powers, notably china. maintaining america's position as the preeminent spacefaring nation is the new space race. china's space program could represent a significant challenge to american leadership in space. a recent defense intelligence agency report noted that china's space program supports both civil and military interests. in january, china became the first country to explore the far side of the moon. by 2025, china plans to complete its satellite navigation system rival to gps. launch a recoveover to mars, operationalize a space station and begin building a moon base,
among other ambitions. president trump has provided clear direction for nasa to lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration to enable human expansion across the solar system. he is right. i hope our witnesses will tell the committee how america can maintain an edge over foreign space programs and show how the budget request will help sustain american leadership in space. it is essential that we have consistency in policy, stable and sufficient funding and a robust set of international and commercial partnerships to achieve these goals. against a backdrop of international competition and a burgeoning space industry, the stakes articulated by president kennedy more than half a century ago are even higher today. i look forward to working with my colleagues to help sustain america's space leadership and chief among those are my friend
and our ranking member, senator cantwell. and i recognize her for her comments. >> thank you, chairman wicker. and thank you for holding today's hearing on maintaining u.s. leadership in space. obviously, this year, 2019, astronauts will be returning to the international space station from america's soil for the first time in nearly a decade. and just last week, spacex successfully completed an uncrewed demonstration launch to the international space station. space tourism is just around the corner, and virgin galactic recently completed a piloted mission. we expect to see blue origin flying people in the very near future. in the chairman's statement, he talked about mississippi and nasa and how they will complete the final test on the space launch system, the most powerful rocket built in advance of the 2020 mission. as we look at these accomplishments and hear about our commercial space mission this morning, we also need to look at the challenges of maintaining our leadership role. other nations are maturing their
space capabilities and could -- and the united states needs to keep pace. i appreciate the administration's focus on maintaining the nation's focus on space, but the budget request they put forward undermines this goal. we need to make sure that there are resources, and the budget seems to cut some of the very programs we need to keep this leadership. a prime example is the international space station. it has been successful, and other countries are developing their own space stations. so we see the administration proposing ending funding for the space station by 2025, so maybe the witnesses can speak to that today. standing up commercial space capabilities takes a long time. and after years of longer initial planning by the commercial crew program, we need to continue these efforts. we cannot have a gap in what is the space capabilities as other nations have looking the same area.
the administration's proposed budget cuts are concerning on a number of fronts. for starters, cutting funding to the enhanced upper stage, the component of space launch systems that will enable long-term goals of the program is problematic. also, the administration is proposing to cancel the earth science mission and zero out the funding of the office of s.t.e.m. engagement. nasa is uniquely positioned to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and cancelling relatively low-dollar education programs i think is shortsighted. so all of these cuts, i'm sure, last year congress rejected most of them. i expect that congress will see the wisdom of rejecting them again. nonetheless, it's important to bring up that we have to make the right prioritization of these programs if we want to continue these missions going forward. so i look forward to discussing these this morning, mr. chairman. thank you again for calling the hearing, and look forward to hearing from our witnesses and their leadership role on these important issues. >> thank you, very much, senator
cantwell. and we'll begin our testimony this morning with administrator bridenstine. we'll ask each witness to limit opening statements to five minutes. your entire statement will be placed in the record by unanimous consent. mr. administrator. welcome. >> thank you, chairman. and it's good to be here, chairman, ranking member, members of the committee. i just want to share with you, as you mentioned, chairman, in your opening statement, this year marks the 50th anniversary of apollo 11 and our landing on the moon. and from that day to this day, the united states of america has led the world in space. we have been the preeminent spa spacefaring nation, and i'm confident we will be able to continue that position as we go into the future. a couple of things that i think are important to note to achieve
this objective. we need to have really impressive goals and stunning achievements that the world can get behind. i can tell you, as the nasa administrator, when i meet with our international partners, one of the things that they are most excited about is the idea that we're going to go to the moon again. this time, we're going to do it differently. this time we're going to go with international partners, and we're going to go with commercial partners. and this time we're going to go sustainably. in other words, this time when we go to the moon, we're going to stay. not permanent human presence on the moon, but with landers and rovers and robots and humans with more access to more parts of the moon than ever before. the president's space policy directive one says to go to the moon sustainably. with international partners. when i say sustainably, i want to be clear. that means we're going to stay there. it doesn't mean we're going to have a 1.0 human presence on the surface of the moon. but it does mean we will have
continual access whenever we need it on the surface of the moon with humans. but we'll also have robots, landers and rovers. we're going to go with international partners and commercial partners. and this is a unique capability that is in space policy directive one. we're going to utilize the resources of the moon. in 1969, when we landed on the moon, we did so, you know, six times. from 1969 to 1972. and in those three years, we had 12 people walking on the surface of the moon. from that day until 2008, really in 2009, we made a big discovery. we believe the moon was bone-dry. a lot of scientists believed the moon was bone-dry. now we know there are hundreds of millions of tons of water ice on the surface of the moon. water ice represents air to breathe, water to drink, hyde general, abundant on the moon. so the president's space policy
directive one says go to the moon, go sustainably, go with international partners, go with commercial partners. utilize the resources of the moon. prove capability, prove technology, retire risk and then use those capabilities and technologies for a mission to mars. that's the objective of this administration. and i can tell you, when i meet with my colleagues around the world, the heads of other agencies, they are all very, very excited about partnering with us in this endeavor. in fact, recently just a couple of weeks ago, we announced we now have a collaboration with canada on this next generation endeavor. and that collaboration, according to the prime minister, is for the next 24 years. which is critically -- which is a great partnership. it's the first one in this next generation. but i think the biggest thing to note, and this is about american leadership. the biggest thing to note now is
there are more space agencies on the space of the planet than before. and there are more coming online, which means there is more opportunity for partnership. more opportunity for shared resources. more opportunity to do more than we have ever been able to do before. and all of that is very positive, and i to believe we are the partner of choice in the world. i also believe it's critically important that we sustain that position. so mr. chairman, ranking member, members of the senate, i'm honored to be here. look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very, very much. mr. o'connell. welcome. >> good morning, everyone. my name is kevin o'connell. i'm the director of the office of space commerce inside the national oceanic and atmospheric association. i'm pleased to testify about u.s. leadership on the final frontier. my perspectives are drawn from my early time at the commerce department, as well as my many
years of work on the policy market and security issues related to commercial remote sensing. i would start by saying that one of the most powerful tools we have in the new competition for space is the ability to harness the private sector in a rapidly growing space economy. mr. chairman, you have already cited some of the statistics marching toward a $3 trillion economy over the next two decades. american space companies confront an extremely complex and competitive landscape. as the global space economy grows, countries are trying to find ways to gain advantage, protect nascent industries and capture market share. countries with mature regulatory systems are trying to quickly modernize policy and regulation, while newer spacefaring countries struggle with how to best regulate commercial space activities. u.s. companies confront a wide range of unfair practices in the market, including dumping of space products and other anti-competitive tactics. the trump administration's emphasis on space, starting with the reestablishment of the
national space council, recognizes the highly competitive nature of the global space environment and the need for the united states to become more agile in order to compete and retain preeminence. space policy directive two explicitly recognizes the need to undertake broad regulatory reform to enable space commerce to flourish. one specific mandate of spd-2 calls for the reorganization of the department of commerce in order to encourage space commerce. it has been a long-held u.s. government view that the department would play a significant role in america's space commerce pursuits. how? as an industry advocate, as a source of economic and commercial information, as a regulator, and sometimes as a counter balance to security concerns about space commercialization. yet the position that i currently occupy is one that was empty for more than a decade. as a personal note, i would say that this industry is so important to this nation's
future that such disregard should never be allowed to happen again. in 2018, the administration proposed elevating the office of space commerce to a bureau within the department of commerce so that it can permanently leverage all of the department's many capabilities on behalf of the u.s. space industry. presently, many federal agencies have statutory responsibilities on space commerce issues, including export controls, remote sensing, spectrum management, pay load review and launch. as the department executes its duty to foster conditions for the economic growth and technological advancement of the u.s. commercial space industry, i see great opportunity to work across agencies to align and simplify regulations in order to accelerate the growth of space commerce and make the united states the flag of choice for space operations and innovation. we have already learned a lot about the value of a revised regulatory approach. u.s. space regulation must
create incentives for companies to responsibly invest, innovate and operate in space. regulation should be performance-based and advanced innovation by allowing for new business models to be licensed rapidly and to allow companies to bring services to market. active consultation and transparency with industry are key. in addition, as countries try to gain market share of their own in the global space economy, there is a risk of dual regulation that will hinder american business. we need to work carefully with our international partners to reconcile regulatory differences among nations. the department has also taken on considerable new responsibility under space policy directive three, the nation's first comprehensive policy on space traffic management. specifically, in partnership with the department of defense and other federal agencies, we will assume no later than 2024 the responsibility to provide conjunction analysis and other basic spaceflight safety services to civil and commercial users.
one key aspect of the department's efforts in this area is to create an open architecture data repository, essentially a state-of-the-art cloud-based platform for creating highly accurate warnings for space operators. as importantly, though, it will also serve as an innovation platform that draws upon the new sensors, analytic tools and visualization capabilities coming out of the commercial market. here too, we see the value of international partnerships and are considering how allied, civil and private sector partners might participate in this architecture as yet another reflection of american space leadership. let me also comment briefly on international activities within the department. the mission of the department of commerce is global in nature and reflected in its many bureaus and organizations such as the international trade administration. it a's advocacy center currently has 26 cases supporting the u.s. space industry with a value of over $3 billion. noaa is also no stranger to
space partnerships. for more than two decades, noaa has recognized that in order to remain a world leader in earth observation, it would have to shift from the world of only government-owned systems to a world with significant commercial and international partners. noaa continues to affirm partnerships both at home and abroad, including participation in multinational fora like the group on earth observation world meteorological organization and others. challenges to space primecy. a growing u.s. commercial space industry represents another aspect of protecting u.s. advantages in space, in the sense economic growth underpins national security. at the department, we are hearing a growing number of u.s. industry concerns about chinese behaviors in the market as part of beijing's drive for space primecy. for example, we are aware of chinese willingness to undercut prices in the market in order to capture market share and underpin -- undercut, i should say, u.s. companies.
china is through a belt and road spacial information corridor broadening its own international footprint, although partner countries are starting to recognize the possible dual-use nature of hosting chinese infrastructure and researchers. we cannot allow the undermining of u.s. technology investments and development. according to one u.s. study, recent u.s. study, china is using foreign investment as a means for technology transfer assessed at approximately $300 billion per year. strong protection of u.s. intellectual property rights for cutting-edge space technology is vital. in addition, the united states and the department will continue to use our routine industry engagement to identify and address unfair trade practices. mr. chairman and members of the committee, thank you for your consideration today. we find ourselves at an unprecedented time at the nexus of leadership, technology and finance. from my early time at the department of commerce, i can say that the world is actively watching our efforts to harness the extraordinary power of the
u.s. commercial space industry. thank you. >> thank you, very much, to both of our witnesses. we'll begin a five-minute round of questioning. mr. administrator, the launch of exploration mission em-1. em-1's goal is to assure a safe crew module entry, dissent, splashdown and recovery. an uncrewed orion capsule 1.3 million miles over 25 days or on the moon before returning to earth. it's been delayed. last week nasa informed congress of yet another delay in em-1. nasa had planned to launch no later than june of 2020. however, nasa now says that further delays are anticipated. what about that? what are your plans to address
this situation and if have you considered alternatives? >> yes, sir, we have considered alternatives. i will say this. before i answer this we did,quei want to start with a point of emphasis, which is the space launch system, sls, the largest rocket that's ever been built in american history, is a critical piece of what the united states of america needs to build. we're talking about a rocket that has a throw weight larger than anything we have ever been able to throw before. we're talking about a rocket that's taller than the statue of liberty, with a fairing size that can put really big objects into space and, in fact, into deep space and orbit around the moon, even. it is a critical capability. now, here's the challenge that we have with em-1. sls is struggling to meet its schedule. it was originally intended to launch in december of 2019 with, as you mentioned, sir, no later
than june of 2020. we're now understanding better how difficult this project is, and that it is going to take some additional time. i want to be really clear. i think we as an agency need to stick to our commitments. sir, if we tell you and others that we're going to launch in june of 2020 around the moon, which is what em-1 is, i think we should launch around the moon in june of 2020. and i think it can be done. we need to consider as an agency all options to accomplish that objective. some of those options would include launching the orion crew capsule and european service model on a commercial rocket. it's been done before. actually, not with the european service module, but certainly there are opportunities to utilize commercial capabilities to put the orion crew capsule and european service mod you will in orbit around the moon by june of 2020, which was our
originally stated objective. and i have tasked the agency to look into how we might accomplish that objective. so, yes, sir, this is a challenge. but i think we can rise up to meeting it. but the key is, we want to test fully the orion crew capsule and the european service module around the moon and then ultimately maintain the sls program so that by the time we do em-2, it will have done a full test. by the way, that would be done at the stennis space center in mississippi, mr. chairman. and then after the green run test, we will have tested the sls, we will have tested the orion crew capsule and european service module around the moon and then get back on track for the em-2. the goal is to get back on track. >> okay. now, as far as -- this is the first forum in which you've made a statement like this. >> yes, sir. >> is that correct? okay. >> last week it came to our
attention we're not going to be able able to maintain the schedule. >> okay. let me parse your words a little. consider options. we're looking at the possibility of using a commercial rocket. whose rocket would that be, and how far along are you in making a decision to go this route in an effort to stick to the 2020 -- mid 2020 schedule? >> all important questions, sir. the challenge is we don't have a rocket right now that can launch owe wry on and the european service module around the moon. that's what the sls is about. here's what we can do, potentially. again, we're starting the process now. we could use two heavy lift rockets to put the european service module into orbit around -- the orion crew capsule in orbit around the earth, launch a second heavy lift rocket to put an upper stage in
orbit around the earth and dock those together to throw around the moon the orion crew capsule with the european service module. i want to be clear, we do not have right now an ability to dock the orion crew capsule with anything in orbit. so between now and june of 2020, we would have to make that a reality. >> this is 2019. >> yes, sir. here's the glory of the united states of america. we have amazing capability that exists right now that we can use off the shelf in order to accomplish this objective. just a few years ago, we launched an orion crew capsule into deep space on a commercially procured rocket. that has already happened. what's different now is we have this european service module, which is how we have propulsion and life support and all these capabilities that we need to last for a period of time with humans in deep space.
we can use off-the-shelf capability, sir to accomplish this objective for em-1, but not change the direction of the sls and em-2. >> i'm not setting a real good example on the time. but this has really been my only question. how close are we to being able to make a decision about whether to do this or not? >> i think it can be done, sir, in the next couple of weeks. and every moment counts. because i want to be clear. nasa has a history of not meeting launch dates. and i'm trying to change that. >> and what are the expense considerations in making this decision? >> that's another discussion. i think there are options to achieve the objective. but it might require some help from the congress. >> well, i would sure like to keep us on schedule. thank you very much. senator cantwell. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
and, again, thank you to the witnesses, mr. o'connell, i think i'm going to focus on you this morning. and i guess that's because the state of washington, i think now has over 6,000 employees, over 1,400 different space companies. and it's remarkable to me how much this has flourished in the last several years. i remember the late paul allen in his early days of trying to challenge everyone in this area, and you can see how much it's become, as some people call it, a little silicon valley for space in the pacific northwest. so your comments about an open architecture are interesting, to keep that dynamic going. and want to understand how novel you think that is in generating more, i don't know if you would call them applications. but more interest.
if that becomes almost a critical point to our national strategy, because it is an open architecture. and secondly, i just feel like we constantly are underestimating -- you mentioned noaa. and i couldn't agree with you more. when i think about the earth information that we could get as it relates to weather alone, every particle in a storm now can be an algorithm. and if we just get the information and use the super computing time, the united states could assess all sorts of information and data that would be so helpful to us. so how do we -- so one, is the open architecture a key strategic play by us. and two, how -- what would be the next steps for us to breathe more life into these very specific applications that i feel like are here, i just don't know if we're actually putting the dollars behind the funding to allow -- or empowering the
agencies that could use -- and i'm thinking on all sorts of natural resource issues that would be so critical to us, doing a better job as stewards of our lands and waters. >> ranking member, thank you for the question. i would start just with a general comment. there is not a part of this great country that today is not affected deeply by the commercial space industry. and so that's a wonderful thing. we see it all of the time from different places. in fact, we're trying to understand better what the size and shape is of the space economy in all of the states in order to help government leaders as well as others, entrepreneurs, in those states, achieve pieces of that global space economy we talked about. on the open architecture data repository, those remarks from me were confined to our responsibilities under spd-3 on space traffic management. if you study the space debris problem, it has become a very urgent problem.
space debris potentially harms anything that flies in space, starting with the space station, the economic value and scientific value of all the satellites up there. because the problem is so urgent, general heighten and the department of defense turned to us and said, number one, we think it's natural that the commerce department actually take over notification for commercial and civil entities. the way we want to approach that is to take a problem that was traditionally behind closed doors and put it into a state-of-the-art modern cloud computing capability. and what we get there in addition to our responsibilities to warn owner/operators, we will get to a place where folks coming forward in the commercial market in academia will be able to experiment, validate, new sensors and analytic tools and what we hope and sometimes playfully returning to as disruption of the space debris problem. it's a very serious problem and we need to make rapid progress in understanding it better and
mitigating it. >> and on the applications like noaa, what do we need to do to better take advantage of those current technologies? >> so we see -- there's a uniquely american phenomenon in the market here, which is the role of private capital. about the third week i was on the job, the secretary sent me to a meeting in new york with about 50 people, which essentially represented $2 trillion of private investment in the market. and we see that really as a driving source behind the development of all new applications, resource management, decision-making of all kinds. and so some of that is going to come from within the market. the government will also have unique needs, as well, that it can develop those applications through. >> well, thank you. i don't know if it's living in the shadow of the space needle that furthered all of this, but i'm just telling you, the industry -- the private side of the industry is definitely alive and well. administrator bridenstine, my time has expired but i'm going
to submit a question for you about the neo wise program. and just as mr. o'connell is talking about accuracy and information, i think there is some concerns on the neo cam and large synoptic survey telescope. so i want to get a question for the record for you from that. and we'll follow up. thank you, mr. chairman. >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you, senator cantwell. i have senator rosen and then cruz and peters. senator rose. >> thank you. and thank you, mr. chairman, thank you for being here and for your testimony today. and what i'd like to do is shift a little bit to address the issue of satellites, what you're talking about space debris. there is a lot orbiting the earth, and the increasing role that they're going to play, both militarily and commercially. so with that, that's also going to increase the vulnerabilities that -- a little music there. that must be addressed.
in 2017, china launched three new satellites. i'm sure that those numbers will be increasing by them and by others. so administrator bridenstine, with the rise in the international competition in space, i'm really concerned particularly about the -- not just the data that we store, what we transmit, how we communicate with our military complex and allies and partners around the world and what vulnerabilities that creates. so what are you doing with the satellites that connect us all to intervene in this area? >> so that's an important -- an important question, when you think about space-based communications. when you think about what a satellite is, senator, it is a node in a communication network. that's all it is. so we're collecting data. it could be imagery. it could be, you know, any part of imaging the earth with the electromagnetic spectrum for
science, discovery, those kind of things. looking into deep space. but it's just -- it's data. and that data then gets transmitted. and, of course, those are all, you know, using the electromagnetic spectrum. so one of the challenges, and we've seen this in the past, especially as it relates to noaa, one of the challenges is we have competitors in the world that would love to, you know, shut down our capabilities when and if they like. >> not even shut down. what about modify the data that's returned to us so we make an inaccurate changes to the outcome of an algorithm for something in our military, perhaps? >> so that's -- yeah. so that is definitely a concern. i will tell you what the dod does and what nasa does. we're kind of different. we intentionally try to make sure that our data is available to the world. we give it away for free. we want to make sure that we are
doing science, discovery, exploration, all of those things that are soft-power things. on the dod side, their communication networks, of course, they need to be frequency-hopping for anti jam. they need to have a lot of encryption. and, of course, we have encryption, too. i want to be clear. our goals are very different than their goals. our architectures are different. but i would say the key is cyber security, which we are focused on. like a laser, as an agency. when i was in the house of representatives, we had to shut down some weather satellites for a period of three days. and that was, of course, because we had an international actor hack into the national weather service. >> right. >> and my state of oklahoma for a period of three days didn't get any data. now -- >> it's not going to change the weather, about ybut it can chane what we do about it.
>> that's exactly right. so the key is, why is an international actor interested in disrupting weather prediction? well, they're proving capabilities. they're proving technology. and so if the weather enterprise is at risk, you can imagine -- >> right. >> nasa is at risk. and so we understand this critical, you know, challenge, and we're making adjustments every day to be on top of it. >> thank you. >> yes, ma'am. >> mr. o'connell, we're talking about this. i would like you to if you could address something that the private/public partnerships or private sector, how do you think they're addressing it and are they on top of what they need to be. >> absolutely, senator. and, again, thank you for the question. we're actively working with the industry to do two things. one, to understand the kind of threats that they are seeing to their systems. what are they experiencing in their data flows. but also to share information out in the other direction on
security practices, et cetera. the office has just been invited to a national security council working group on space cyber integration that will deal with a lot of issues that administrator bridenstine has raised. >> i see this as an easy way for bad actors to infiltrate our system, so it's something we need to be hyper vigilant about. thank you for being here. >> thank you, senator rosen. the senator from the houston space center. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you for your testimony, your leadership. administrator bridenstine, let's talk a little about the iss. as you are aware, last year's budget from the administration proposed ending all federal government funding for the iss by the year 2025. the space subcommittee of this committee held a series of hearings on whether that was wise, whether that was prudent. the testimony we received
consistently was that it was not. the space station, as a matter of scientific and technical capability, can continue to be utilized, at least until 2030, if not later. and given that the taxpayers have invested over $100 billion, the testimony we received is that it was prudent to get the maximum return for that investment. and that it would be nothing short of catastrophic to seed low-earth orbit to the chinese. in light of that testimony, i introduced legislation that explicitly extended funding for the space station until 2030. this committee passed that legislation unanimously. it went on to pass the senate unanimously. i was very pleased to see this year's president's budget. that did not have that language zeroing out the funding, but
instead talked about transitioning to more commercial opportunities, which all of us would like to see. but no longer suggested a threat to the funding for the space station in 2025. i think that is beneficial to the american taxpayer. i think it's also beneficial to our partners in the space station, making clear that our commitment to the station is to get the maximum reasonable life and use out of it. do you agree with that sentiment? >> yes, sir. i have been watching your leadership on this issue with great interest, as you can imagine. and i would say we are starting even right now today to put together all of the tools so that we can commercialize low-earth orbit as rapidly as possible. it is true, the language ending direct funding is not the language we're using any more in 2025. but instead we're transitioning. and that's starting today. transitioning to new funding
models that would be enabling of commercial activities. what you'll find in this budget request is $150 million specifically for commercialization activities in low-earth orbit. but that $150 million does not include the great investment that is the iss that helps us transition. we need to utilize the iss for the transition to commercialization. it is a tool to get to commercialization. so know this. i believe a day is coming when we will have commercial activities and low-earth orbit. the goal here, senator, and you know this. nasa wants to be one customer of many customers in a robust commercial marketplace for human activities in low-earth orbit. at the same time, we want to have numerous providers that are competing on cost innovation to drive down cost and increase access to space. we just recently saw what happens when we can dock a commercial crew dragon to the international space station with
a reusable rocket provided by the private sector. costs are going to go down, access is going to increase. we don't want to just do it with commercial resupply to the international space station, not just with crew, but actually with habitation in low-earth orbit. the purpose for this ultimately is so we can save resources and use the precious dollars that this committee and the senate and the house give us, use those precious dollars to go to the moon where there is not yet a commercial marketplace, but for which we believe there will be a commercial marketplace. our goal is to retire risk, commercialize and go further. and do more. and i do believe the date very well could be 2025. and that's my goal. and i'm going to be very clear. my goal is to move us to a day where in 2025 we are completely commercialized. but it's important to note that what we're talking about now is the development of a new funding model. >> well, and i want to commend the administration for listening
to congress. that we have long had bipartisan agreement that we will continue america's leadership in space, and listening to congress is an important part of maintaining that consensus. another avenue to potentially ensure that we have the funding, both for the iss and for exploration is having our participan partners and allies pay their fair share. how much does the united states currently contribute to the fund to operate the iss, and how does that compare to the contributions of our international partners? >> yes, sir. so right now when you think about the international space station, the united states of america is a partner at about a -- well, i'm talking about the united states segment of the international space station. there's the u.s. segment and then there's the russian segment. the united states segment we have international partners on there. japan, the european space agency, canada. and, of course, the european space agency includes 11 different nations right there. so on that partnership, the united states of america
contributes about 77%. the balance is provided by the rest of those partners. the highest i think is around, you know, 10%, and then 8% and canada is around 3%. i don't want to suggest that this is a bad deal. because what we get for our commitment, there's rights and responsibilities. our responsibility is that the 77% level. our rights are at the 77% level. that includes astronauts, it includes experiments on the iss. so while we are, you know, paying a bigger percentage, we are also receiving a bigger benefit from it. that being said, for the future, when we think about the entire architecture between low-earth orbit and the moon and eventually mars, we have to change that paradigm. if the united states of america is going to be a 77% contributor, that, in my view, is not the right approach and won't be sustainable. my charge is to create the
sustainable return to the moon, which means we need more partnership from more nations. at the same time, we need to take our partners we currently have, and have them increase funding, as well as the united states of america already has done. and will continue to do with your leadership, of course. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> administrator, if china were looking for partners in an international space station, they might be willing to kick in 87%, might they? >> i would argue that they might be willing to kick in 100% in order to have the influence. yes, sir. >> yeah. it would be a pretty unreliable partner, but to some countries out there, it might seem tempting. >> in fact, sir, it is already happening. our european partners right now,
there are europeans in china training to become tykenauts for the upcoming chinese space station. so china is moving very rapidly to entice the world to join them in their efforts in low-earth orbit. >> i want to thank senator cruz for his efforts in this regard. senator peters and then senator fisher. >> i want to thank senator cruz as well for the leadership on the space station. i'm a backer of it, as well. working with senator cornyn, in legislation with you to make sure we keep the station operating to 2030. we've made a substantial investment in that station. it's critical to maintain our partnership of all the things we've heard. but what i hear from you, administrator, is that you have set a goal and believe that it's possible that commercial activities will be able to pick up that cost by 2025. it certainly seems very ambitious. and so my question is for mr. o'connell, do you believe the commercial space industry would actually start picking that all up in 2025?
is that even -- is that realistic, or should we be thinking about something else? >> senator, thank you. we are seeing a number of industry partners come forward, partly to understand the roles they can play on the space station, the extent to which they can access it. so far, we're seeing relatively small applications for the space station. but we're hoping to encourage others for larger applications, as well. we also see companies coming in the market that believe they can create a wholly commercial space station, as well. but the transition period is going to be critical. >> and five or six years is ambitious, to say the least? >> it would be ambitious. >> yeah. the other question for you, m you've talked about orbital debris as a critical problem. and nasa is very concerned about, the department of defense, pretty much across agencies. and as we get more constellations of satellites, it's going to be a bigger and bigger problem, probably growing exponentially in the years ahead. you talked about some of the
efforts being made in the department of commerce to track this. i know there's a debate going on among agencies as to who should be in charge. and i think whenever you have a big problem, you've got to have somebody who is actually in charge. you can't have everybody pointing fingers at each other. and it's a complex web from the department of transportation, faa, commerce, dod. who do you -- and i know where you work. but give me the argument as to why commerce is best to do this job and why not the department of transportation and the faa, which has quite a history of tracking objects in the air? >> so let me focus on what we have been doing and the extent to which it relates to what the problem has been described here. general heighten came to us last year, administrator brydidensti testified about the nature of the urgency. part of the logic was for us was that the general thought it was proper that because we were going to be interacting with a whole range of commercial actors in space, that it was logical
for the commerce department to actually take on that responsibility. so let's talk about what we have done since that time. >> the faa obviously deals with a lot of commercial actors in the air, as well. >> absolutely, senator. what we have done since that time, though, when people say why commerce, i would give a couple of answers. number one, we have technical organizations like noaa, the organization that i sit in, as well as nist, very much self-interested. there is a group at noaa that pays very careful attention to the space debris impact on noaa weather satellites and others, as well as nist. secretary ross would talk about the fact that we -- 40% of the data that the u.s. government shares with the american people actually comes out of the commerce department. so a wide range of organizations internally actually have models for sharing information of the kind we'll need with the space debris problem. most importantly, i talk about our interactions with the supply and demand aspects on space debris. on the supply side, we are routinely interacting with a
wide range of new companies that are coming into the market. i mentioned this in my remarks. new sensors and a very diverse set of sensors. new analytic tools that will increase the accuracy of the data that's shared with operators and new visualization platforms. that's the supply side. but we're also routinely interacting with the companies that will effectively change what information is required in space. so when we consider constellations, mega constellations, they will need new kinds of information from an ssa perspective. so we're seeing both dimensions of that. and then obviously the open architecture data repository that we talked about. we're interacting with a wide range of industries, i'll call them adjacent industries, not necessarily space industries, artificial intelligence, cloud computing. that can greatly affect how this changes. and, again, by all sense, it's got to change very quickly. >> thank you. i have one final question.
the commercial space industry, as it's growing, there is also expanding interest in launch capabilities in other places around the country. in my home state of michigan, for instance, the michigan launch initiative is working to develop a space port for the potential launch of low-orbit polar satellites and our g geographic position is well suited for that. what is the department of commerce doing to work with organizations like the michigan launch initiative to develop private space ports and increase our national capacity to support commercial space as a result of that? >> so we're routinely asked to meet with space port leaders, organizations that relate to building new space ports. one of the questions that the secretary likes to ask is how many space ports is the right number of space ports in the country? that will absolutely relate, senator, to the extent to which the vision that we have laid out for space, that the administration has laid out for space, comes true. the extent to which we can manage the air space integration piece, that is very much an faa
department of transportation responsibility. but the vision beyond that, that we can actually achieve. we're more than happy to meet with everyone who is in the process of building a space port. >> great. thank you very much. >> yes, senator. >> thank you very much, senator peters. senator fisher. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the administrator and mr. o'connell, both of you spoke in your testimony about the need for the united states to be the -- to be competitive in commercial space. does nasa and/or the department of commerce have a definition or standard by which they consider the united states to be competitive? in other words, what are some of the factors that each of you would view as being an indication that the united states is competitive? >> i would start, senator, with the -- i think the question for me is, what nation on the planet is the preferred partner of choice? and right now the united states of america is that preferred
partner. we talked to our international partners, and they are keenly interested in partnering with us on a whole host of missions. and while they are willing to partner with other nations, they're generally more interested in us. because we bring more capability, we are more open and transparent with the discoveries, and it gives them prestige in the world, in fact, to partner with the united states of america. so i think that's a key metric. but i think also just achievement in general. in the last year, we have landed insight on mars. we are the only nation on the planet that has ever landed a robot on another world. and we have now done it on mars eight times successfully. this time when we landed insight, we did it with international partners that brought technology to the table. so that's a very good thing. and then, of course, over the
holiday, we had, you know, a fly-by of ultimatuly, the spacecraft with new horizons, the same spacecraft that flew by pluto back in 2014. we're talking about 4 billion miles from earth, a mission that's been going on for years, and it's -- it's just delivering stunning images and science. and, of course, now over the same holiday, we entered orbit around benu, an asteroid in deep space and osirusx, the satellite currently in orbit around benu. it will be bringing samples home from that asteroid. our capabilities as a nation are stunning. people want to partner with us. it is important for us to stay at the cutting edge of this. i will tell you -- >> what specifically do our industries do to provide for that? you know, as a -- as a government, we're not
necessarily the ones that are achieving this. it's businesses. it's industries. what -- what makes -- what makes them so unique? what makes it the cutting edge? >> well, i think there's a couple of things. number one, we have the best university system in the world, and when we want to do a mission to ultimatuly -- osirus x is run by the university of arizona. we're going to go to an asteroid in the asteroid belt. it's not even an asteroid, it's a huge steel ball that might be the core of a planet that got destroyed or maybe the core of a planet that is currently being developed. i don't know, nobody else knows either. but that's a mission that's being run by arizona state university. in oklahoma, they're doing a mission called geo carve to study the earth. so we have scientists and engineers and technicians and students even that get involved, because we have such an amazing university system. and then those universities partner with industry to help develop the technology and
capability. so -- >> with industry. >> i'm going to jump because i'm running out of time and mr. o'connell, you can feel free to jump in here as well. when we look at programs like the space grant, the nasa space grant that supports future scientists, future engineers, how is nasa ensuring its educational programs are going to support the future needs that we see in commercial space programs that are coming up? you have just a short period of time. >> yes, ma'am. the key is space grant is a good program that nasa takes advantage of right now. and what we're looking toward doing is engaging students in our activities. so we partner with universities. we partner even now i was just in an event where we were -- it was a robotics competition called first robotics. thousands of students there in high school that are build rog boots. this is the next generation of the engineers, the technicians
that will build our robots that go to mars and onto other destinations. so we are keenly aware of developing that talent and the necessity to develop that talent, and we're committed to it. >> may i make a brief comment? i would echo everything administrator bridenstine said. we've been talking about the building blocks. part is continuing innovation in things that are already commercialized space while other capabilities come to market. i mentioned private sector and private capital, important. even inside the commerce department q we have two grant making organizations. the economic grant administration and the minority business development agency which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. both of those organizations have space commerce garants. the space space commerce grant out of mbda is to travel around
the country and attract entrepreneurs to the space business. people are still excited about going to space. >> thank you post very much. >> senator sullivan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for holding this hearing. i want to thank the witnesses for your leadership on this important issue. what i want to actually talk to both of you about is an issue that i haven't really -- you haven't really raised that much, but it's the power of inspiration for the next generation of americans with regard to all that nasa and others are doing with regard to space exploration. now, identify asked this before in other hearings related to space exploration, but have you seen the movie "the martian"? >> i have. >> how about "first man"? >> i have. >> how about you mr. o'connell? >> no. >> so here's my question.
these are great movies. and i don't normally plug hollywood, but i think these are really inspirational and i have three daughters. they've seen them and love these movies because they inspire us. right? and what they do is they inspire us with particularly young people who can do great things. you talked about the universities in america. i actually agree that that's a huge strategic advantage. but what is nasa doing to kind of bring that can do inspirational culture but also inspiration to the next generation of americans? it's not just the scientists but it's also the -- you know, like the movie "the right stuff". there's courage. there's adventure. there's sacrifice. you know, "the first man" that movie highlights that. what are you doing to help us regenerate that as a country? i think we can do it better than anyone else, but there's an intangible that relates to nasa and spacex p exploration that's
more important. it's the inspiration of a nation and the next generation of americans, and you guys can do that. i think nasa has lost that a little bit, but i think you can redo it. hollywood is being helpful in this regard with some of their movies, but can you talk to that issue? i think it's probably one of the most important things you can do for our nation. >> yes, senator. i would argue that the key thing we need to do as a nation is do stunning things. we need to do things that capture the imagination of the american public and capture the imagination of the world. i tell people frequently, you know, i wasn't around during apollo 11. we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of apollo 11. >> you weren't born? >> i was not yet born, but i will tell you this. i remember exactly where i was in fifth grade, miss power's english class, when the space
shuttle challenger exploded. i remember her walking into the room. i remember tears coming down her face. i remember the students being like what's wrong with mrs. powers? i remember her gathering up all the other teachers and bringing in the tvs and turning them on. those are the moments that are emblazoned in the memories of my generation. we need to change that. >> yes. >> we need to have those moments where this generation sees people walking on the moon. this generation sees people making the advancements necessary to get to mars and in fact, this generation could see people walking on mars. >> let me give you just a quick example. we have a program in alaska called ansep. it's an alaskan native engineering program for young high school kids going into college. then they do it into college. i was at their annual dinner the other night. we had an astronaut speaking at the dinner back in anchorage. it was very inspirational.
one of the young kids came up to me, and he had been hired recently by nasa to work on the rocket that's going to go to mars? . >> nice. >> and it was just incredible. this inspiration of this young kid who worked really hard, you got to earn it. right? but we want to be able to help you do this in a way that i think changes the culture. as you mentioned, the idea of the challenger exploding which was a horriblen tragedy is not the image we want. it's the neil arm strong. and i think it's your greatest asset. we want to help you with that. we need to inspire the next generation of americans. mr. o'connell, do you have any thoughts on how congress can help you with that or what you can do i think partnering with the media like i said, hollywood, on some really good movies lately just to bring that inspiration is something that we should look at taking advantage
of. what do you think? >> absolutely. and i would not underestimate the power of private enterprise here where you can do cool things and also make money in the process. there's sometimes this view that science and commerce are incongruent. >> i'm assuming you're kind of endorsing capitalism? >> indeed, i am. >> we're debating that right now, believe it or not. i endorse capitalism, but as part of exploring the cosmos, you think that's a powerful thing that nasa can be doing for this generation of americans? >> not just nasa but also at commerce we're talking to a number of universities around the country who want to develop a space commerce curriculum in the business schools, for example. we have our own role in the education areas. well, i've mentioned the mbda grant. their space foundation under that grant is traveling rnd the country to attract not just the traditional entrepreneurs to the business but people of other walks of life who are interested
in space may not have the technical skills but saying i'm interested. maybe there's something i can do here. we want to attract a wider audience. i like to say we'll never get to the trillion dollar space economy if space is left only in the heads of the technical people. we need a much wider community of people to participate in that. >> i know we're over time. i would like to make two critical points. kevin is working on the commercial stuff. we are helping with commercial stuff as well. we just saw a commercial vehicle, the dragon docked to the international space station. everybody in the world saw that. i was on the phone yesterday with our international partners. they're thrilled about it. it's going to drive down cost, enable us to go to the international space station with more capability and more people to do more experiments and drive down costs. that's positive. that's a good thing. the other thing is when we landed inside on mars, we were on the cover of every newspaper
worldwide. children in tehran were basically reading good stories about the united states of america landing on mars. that's the kind of influence that nasa brings to the table. the inspiration, the idea that we can reshape or transform the image of the united states for people all around the world. when we talk about the instruments of national power, diplomatic information, military, economic, that information piece is what nasa brings to the table, and by the way, that's our history and tradition going back to apollo 8 and apollo 11. the whole world sees our achievements and it inspires everybody. >> thank you. we want to help you with that mission too. >> senator sullivan endorses capitalism and hollywood. [ laughter ] >> thank you for both being here today, and i appreciate what you're doing and certainly have learned a lot. europe, china and russia with all developing a wide array of
space race robotics and satellite systems. we haven't gotten into this discussion on the question. mr. administrator, we've talked about this before. i believe it's vital we develop the technology to repair, refuel, and refurbish those satellites and systems so we can enhance their capability, their lifetime, their operational lifetime. you've talked about space debris. i think this leads into that. in the west virginia robotic technology center our state is making a significant contribution to ensure that the u.s. does not fall behind our global competition in an area that's critical to science, commerce, and our national security on the repair, refurbish and refueling of our existing satellites. could both of you talk about what you're doing in nasa and also at the department of commerce to ensure that we're leading the way in this and give us an update on where you see this going. >> right now nasa is developing restore l which is a mission that is going to basically
refuel a land satellite operated by usgs. it's a great mission for nasa. robotic servicing of satellites is a capability and a technology that i think will have an effect that drives down costs. satellites are extremely expensive. and if we can extend their life, use them longer, it drives down costs and increases our ability to do things. so i think robotics is a key piece of that. i think as we move forward what we have to be focussed on are technologies going to the commercial piece. technologies that can be commercialized. nasa does not want to operate a fleet of satellites running around the globe servicing whether it's doing maintenance or refueling satellites. we want to develop the technologies and capabilities, license or transfer those technologies to commercial industry, and let them operate fleets so that nasa can continue
doing the things that nasa is good at. robotics is one of those things. we're happy to be a partner in this effort. >> senator, thank you for the question. the satellite servicing and the robotics industries are critical to changing the entire economics of space. and so we're routinely talking of this. your question leads me toward the question of how we're going to regulate companies that come forward in the market. we're familiar with how to regulate remote sense, communications, navigation companies. i'm interested in how we're going to take on new companies that come forward, the brand new capabilities that we have no experience with before. when i talked about this in my remarks, the need for regulatory efficiency, especially given that other countries around the world already have lighter regulatory regimes and will attract -- are trying to attract new talent, new companies to their spaces as well. so it's very important we pay
attention to those capabilities early as they come forward in the market. >> that leads me to my next question. i know west virginia university has been participating with nasa on these issues. and i'm so glad somebody brought up the university partnerships that you both have. because i think that's critical not just for the next generation. it's an economic driver for many states. mine certainly is one of those. i'm wondering do you have any -- are there any roadblocks or have you experienced any difficulties in forming these partnerships with universities? is there something that we can do to increase these capabilities? >> nasa has really amazing partnerships with a lot of universities. i don't know of anything offhand that would prohibit us doing that more. but i think one of the areas as it relates to robotics when we talk about the regulatory
regime, we hear in interfnationl fora to continue provide supervision for activities in general. when it comes to robotics and satellites, some countries around the world see that as provocati provocative. creating a regulatory regime which we're doing where we can provide that authorization and continuing supervision for those robotic activities and give confidence to international partners and even international competitors that this is not being something that is being utilized for any kind of hostile purposes, i think that's a key component for the robotics that i know the commerce department right now is moving out on under the direction of space policy directive 2 from the president. >> that's correct. >> all right. thank you. >> thank you very much, senator. >> chairman, thank you. thank you both for being here,
mr. mcconnell and administrator. to follow up on the conversation you were just having with the senator from west virginia, senator warren ener and i are wg on reintroducing our aeronautics innovations act designed to boost the attention and resources, and it really is a hoping to provide a guide to nasa's aeronautics mission directive, and i'm happy to have you i think maybe you answered the question when the senator asked what can be done to make changes. we're making sure the congressional research is enhanced for aeronautics, not diminished. we look forward to working with you in that regard. administrator bridenstine, i'm mostly here to tell you thank you for your visit to kansas, and to highlight something for you. we'll have additional conversations about the
importance of stem education when we have a budget conversation, appropriations conversation. but i wanted you to know that just a few weeks ago in my office was a student who participated in our stem event in wichita at which you spoke and an astronaut spoke, and he -- we rekindled his boyhood dream of going to mars. he now has decided this is the career he wants to pursue, and i just point out that those efforts at nasa, your efforts in particular in wichita, but you and an astronaut have such a capability of changing a person's life. we change the world one person at a time, and i want you to know that we want to make certain that nasa remains that agency that inspires another generation. and highlighting just one student who was affected by what you had to say, i wanted you to
be aware of that. >> well, senator, thank you for saying that, and nasa has a long history and tradition of this. we have employees that visit all kinds of museums and institutions as we visited to do just that. and that's ultimately how we create the next generation of scientists, technician, engineer, mathematician, and i'm proud to do that. i would also say that trip to wichita was transformative for me. understanding and seeing for the first time what a digital twin is of an aircraft, and now nasa is actually -- we have commercial partners that are using digital twins of spacecraft. in other words, we can stress the digital twin in a computer model just as the spacecraft itself has been stressed in space. and the reason we do that is so we can make assessments as to the health of the spacecraft and how long it's going to last and whether or not we should fly it again.
those kind of things. and so i will tell you, i enjoyed the trip very much. i learned a lot, and it has applicability that goes beyond aviation and into space. i think that is why when we think about nasa, the national aeronautics and space administration, first day in nasa is air maeronauticaeronaut. it's directly applicable to what we do in space. >> i've tried to explain digital twinning. the air force is in front of our committee today and the tremendous challenges we face in space and the defense of our country. we need to make certain we're doing everything in the defense in the civil side of arrow space for our country. the common denominator is recruiting talent, skill, and
intellect. you play an important part in that. >> thank you. senator black burn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and what a pleasure it is to see you in this role, mr. bridenstine. and -- >> yes, ma'am, what a pleasure it is to see you in that role. >> i appreciate that. for those that don't know, when he was a freshman member of the house, he was on the hallway where i had my office. we had a lot of freshman there. it was like i was the chief mama in charge of helping with all these freshman. you've -- you're doing such a great job, and i think last week's success was indicative of the energy that you're bringing. we appreciate that. mr. o'connell, i've got a question for you specifically. as you look at commerce and space and consider commercialization, and kind of a new frontier, let's talk about spectrum. it is valuable, and i want to
hear from you what you think commerce is doing right and what they could be doing to make certain that we do not waste any of this spectrum. >> thank you, senator, for the question. spectrum is one of the critical dependencies for both space as well as the administration's 5g strategy. and so some of the debates have been intense. they're deeply technical. and what we have been concerned about with regard specifically to the space industry is making sure that we're bringing the proper data into the discussion relating to economic value of either technical decisions or future applications. our worry on the space side has been that the taxpayer has invested billions of dollars in capabilities related to either world class weather prediction. everyone's ability to navigate leaving this hearing via gps, and administrator bridenstine's
capability to beam back from millions of miles away with fascinating scientific experiments. we're trying to make sure the space community is well advocated for as part of an overall administration strategy on 5g. >> i would add into that you're probably looking at drones and the commercial utilization of drones. >> yes. both drones and there's a new class -- >> satellites. >> underneath satellites there's something called high altitude platforms. there's a lot of things in that vertical spectrum that have to be considered. >> and it needs to be done in an orderly process. we'll look forward to you coming back to us with some recommendations on that. as we work on the 5g issue, i continue to remind people this is going to be as transformative as when we went from analog to digital. >> yes, ma'am. >> and i think that our hopes
are very high for what this is going to do th, but we've got te mindful of how we use and slice and pack that spectrum, not having it go to waste. >> and the directive, there's a report that's coming due immediately that you'll be made aware of on how we think about the space component of that. >> right. absolutely. >> one question for you, mr. bridenstine. the public/private partnerships are going to end up being more important. certainly for each of you, but i think for nasa as you kind of give it a new footing, if you will. and a -- a -- kind of help it find priorities. so i wish you would talk for just a moment about what we could do to help you in that realm as we expand these
public/private partnerships and as you reprioritize the activity of the agency and reshape that agency. >> yes, ma'am. so as you're aware, what we're trying to do where there are commercial marketplaces is we want to be a customer rather than the owner and operator of hardware which, of course, is very expensive. so if we become one customer of many customers, costs go down. at the same time we don't want to get in a position where we are a customer and we have a single provider of services, because then we're going from having a government monopoly to a commercial monopoly which isn't the right approach. we need a marketplace where we're a customer, there are other customers but also have numerous providers. and those providers compete on cost and innovation to do things that are very similar to what they would do commercially. commercial crew capability,
almost. we've demonstrated a test flight at this point but we have been doing commercial resupply to the international space station for number of years. this capability has driven down cost, increases access and will enable us -- one customer or many customers, the engineering cost gets spread across numerous partners. what we would like to do as we move forward is replicate that model for commercial habitation in low earth orbit. we talk right now about the international space station. critical capability for the united states. using the space station to test commercial habitats we can create an entire commercial domain of space exploration where nasa as a customer. we can use the precious resources you give us to go to the moon where there is not yet a commercial marketplace but there could be a commercial marketplace given the resources
available, namely the water ice we discovered in 2008. when we think about this we're looking at building this architecture, a new paradigm where we have commercial and international partners side-by-side with nasa accomplishing new things nobody could do on their own but collectively we can do more. authorities to do that kind of activity with the helpful and i'm looking forward to working with you on that as days go by. >> we look forward to it also. i yield back. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator blackburn. senator klobuchar. >> welcome to both of you. you know what a leader the u.s. has been when it comes to space. we are facing competition from
other nations. china plans to construct its own space station in low earth orbit. the css may launch as soon as this year and china has begun inviting other countries to apply to conduct experiments aboard if. the european space agency is reportedly working with china. how are nasa and the office of space commerce planning to ensure that the u.s. remains competitive in space explanation? -- space exploration? achievements going to the international space station where we have our international partners already on board and as we go to the next step which is to the moon, this time when we go to the moon, to actually stay. that means using our international partners, having them join us in our effort to go to the moon keeps them in our spear which is important. as the head of the agency i meet
with our international partners regularly. they are very excited about going to the moon with us, which has never been done before, where we go to the moon with international partners. so i think that is a critical capability to achieve. , i think good stories to tell right now. but you are right. , in yourconnell testimony you highlight the need for strong protections of u.s. intellectual property rights for cutting edge space technology, recent study found that china is using foreign investment as a means to transfer technology assessed at approximately $300 billion a year. it is clear throughout through our international -- what is your agency doing to respond to this issue? >> in our advocacy work we are actually trying to understand the value of the ecosystem that will support the space exploration nasa has.
we held a space investment summit in december, where secretary ross was asking what's the longer-term investment climate for the space industry. just last week we held a space insurance summit -- >> what do you think are the main barriers to grow for the commercial space sector? idea.have an a vision for something we call a one-stop shop where companies come to one place at the office ideally a bureau at some point, where they can come to one place and i could provide authority on some of those issues. >> i have one more question. >> we are relying heavily on this. another component organization in the cyber security framework and some of the things they are doing in rod cyber terms to apply that to space as well.
getting companies notice of some of the challenges we are seeing in the market as well as listening to what they are seeing in the market when their systems are threatened or vulnerable. >> i worked with senator heller on inspiring the next toearchers and explorers act authorize nasa to encourage women to study in stem fields and also a different one we did together to make sure women researchers can get their ideas into the commercial world. both bills were signed by the president in 2017. , iinistrator bridenstine know we've talked about public-private partnerships but how would efforts to increase recruitment and retention of women and minorities, something that is so important not just at nasa but in science as a whole? >> nasa is very focused on this. it does not take long to walk around the headquarters in those areas you mentioned and recognize that women are
underrepresented. >> about 25% at nasa. >> that is probably right. >> as we learned from "hidden figures." >> it might be less than 25%. >> 25% of stem workers, but nasa probably has less. but keep going. >> we making great advances in the science field. significant improvements in retaining women in the fields. when it comes to the engineering we are not where we need to be. we continue to make hot rest. ,ome of the things that we do we have american ash announced that are female and we are making sure they are getting out in the public and doing engagement with young ladies. at the same time this month, this is a great story. the first all-female spacewalk. leave theve two women
international space station and do critical work on the outs. >> how about the minority front? >> the same challenges apply. we are working diligently to increase their representation as well through the same mechanisms. i think the big thing that we can do is continue to make these -- do these stunning achievements. that gets everybody more activated. >> thank you very much. , the. bridenstine universities could help you on the engineering too. thank you. senator gardner. here.nk you for being thank you very much for the testimony today. thank you for your recent visit the colorado and the deputy administrator as well. we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the last physics space laboratory in older university of colorado.
colorado receives more nasa funding than any state in the country and the work we do. we would love to talk about a nasa center in colorado and the opportunities we have to continue engaging colorado in the space front. i think the only sort of university research control consortium in the united states that has sent products, technology, equipment to all eight planets, and pluto, that was a tough one for me to say, .ight planets, and pluto things change. thank you for being here. would you say the united states is capable of launching all nasa missions today? >> there is always room for more capacity. launches -- we step on each other sometimes.
we got the faa that is responsible for commercial launches and nasa responsible for its launches and no one responsible for its -- noaa responsible for its launches. are --same time, we >> the commercial launch industry itself is healthy. lots of people do this job are you are you familiar with the requirement that requires the use of commercial domestic launch providers for u.s. government funded payloads unless no such one exists? >> i am a. >> because nasa is paying for cargo deliveries there's a tax funded missions -- would you agree with that assessment? >> yes. >> i didn't we have to enforce these provisions to make sure we are ensuring that domestic competition remains strong. we are dealing nation in the world that can support multiple competitive large commercial launch providers like you laid out. we should not star competition
by sending it overseas. i will tell you i've had that conversation with international partners who are interested in launching basically spacecraft built in the united states, commercial spacecraft on their rockets funded by the u.s. taxpayer and i was clear that would probably receive a lot of resistance in the senate. i might have gotten ahead of you on that but we have had that conversation. with our international partners. i will follow the law. >> thank you very much. space policy directive one requires nasa to return to the moon with commercial and international partners. what are the broader challenges that as we look at the moon, as we look at the overall mission, that in short u.s. remains a leader in that exploration of space? to making sure that we remain a leader is to do stunning things.
to do things that other nations can't do, that entices other nations to partner with us to accomplish those objectives. policy directive one, we are going to the moon. the president said go to the moon, go with commercial partners, go with international partners. there are now more space agencies on the face of the planet than ever before. we want as many of those to be with us as possible under constraints of the law. we are going to utilize the resources of the moon for the first time. the water ice that we discovered 10 years ago is there in hundreds of millions of tons. it is hydrogen and oxygen which is rocket fuel. it is there and we want to utilize it. retire risk and take the technologies and capabilities to mars. what i can tell you as the head of the agency, when i meet with international partners, they are excited about partnering with us on these endeavors.
the idea that the next time we go to the moon, yes, we will have american astronauts with flags on their shoulders but it could be that we are side-by-side with astronaut from other countries with their flags on their shoulders. american leadership. that ultimately is our objective to provide that leadership to make sure everybody stays with us in our sphere as we move forward. >> thank you. thank you for your interest in the space symposium in colorado as well. >> this is a tough question and i understand there's all kinds of challenges. geopolitical between our countries. tos relationship goes back 1975. the height of the cold war. program when after apollo 17 we brought our passionate home russia decided
they wanted to partner with us instead of competing with us. from there we had the shuttle mirror program. without the international space station program in russia is interested in partnering with us when we go to the moon. what is fascinating about this relationship, through all the from 19 probably 73 when the project began all the way up until today there have been disputes and challenges in geopolitical issues and yet it has never spilled over, i would not say never, i would say we have been able to work through the challenges in space. i think that is a unique capability. a unique channel of communication. the partnership that i have with ros kosmos has been very helpful. it has been a strong
partnership. i understand it is unique. it is a good partnership for space. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to do exciting things in space. stunning things like americans going back to the moon. my interest right now is on issues a little closer to earth. aviation safety. >> yes sir. >> as you are very much aware, nasa is responsible for maintaining the system that includes reports from pilots who encounter potential problems while in the air. it's called the aviation safety , it isng system, or asrs a voluntary, confidential, nonpunitive repository for capturing confidential reports, analyzing aviation incidents,
safety data, dissemination of vital information. you know that in the last day or so, there had been chilling reports about pilots reporting incidents in the sky involving eight during7 max critical moments of flight. they have been reported on the dallas morning news, last night on rachel maddow. graphic and dramatic descriptions of these reports by pilots. one united states incident in november 2018. a commercial airline pilot evidently reported that during takeoff the autopilot was engaged and, "within two to three seconds the aircraft down," in a manner steep enough to trigger the planes warning system which think, don't't
think." i'm asking you to make available to us, those reports that a been submitted to you. you can redact names. i'm asking you as the administrator of the system to make available to us in congress all of those reports from pilots. will you do so? >> i would be happy to do that. >> how soon? >> i don't know what the logistics are to make those available. as soon as possible. yes sir. >> you know pilot groups have complained that boeing did too little to ensure they and other airlines were aware of a new anti-stall feature related to software and sensors or new had a turned off if it were malfunctioning or acting on faulty data. i would like your view as to whether we should be asking more
of boeing at this point in terms of information they have. honest, at this point i don't have enough information to make that determination. >> but you want that information? >> yes sir. >> and when you join in trying to seek it? >> 100%. i'm a pilot myself. have flown with automatic flight control systems and autopilots. i've had autopilots malfunction and -- >> pretty scary. >> scenarios that are not good either. it is in our interest to make sure our equipment is safe and i'm committed to doing whatever is possible to do that. >> when you have homes about flying a 737 max eight? >> i would not. >> why not? think -- >> because someone else's piloting it ?
>> i would not -- i'm going to be flying in the coming days. if i'm on a 737 max eight i think i would be ok and it would not bother me. >> passengers who may have homes should be able -- qualms should be able to choose another flight without any charge? >> i don't know about that. certainly it is a free market and if people want to ride on a different airplane, they should. >> well, i will come your willingness to share with us that information about reports because the american public really deserves to know from the this who are closest to web dealt with these petrified scenarios as you have termed them, incidents where the planes just go out of control in effect and the american public needs to know what boeing new when they knew it and what they did as soon as possible on necessary
corrections. they have a public trust, and so does the faa and the secretary of transportation, realizing that they are not within your purview, i welcome your willingness to share with us your expertise as a pilot as well as the information in the aviation safety reporting system. thank goodness we have it. senator blumenthal. i think we can acknowledge this is a high-profile issue and an important issue. if you could just follow up, mr. administrator, where does your jurisdiction overlap with faa and where are we on that? >> so the system the senator referenced is an faa program. nasa, it's done at ames research center in california. the san francisco bay area.
ultimately it's administrative by nasa. we have nasa employees engaged in it. it's an faa system. it's an faa program funded by the faa. the key to the whole thing is to get pilots to be willing to share things they might not want share with the faa. that is why it is house at nasa and of course i've been familiar with the program as a pilot myself. when it comes to malfunctioning autopilots which i've had in the past, you turn them off, and you fly the airplane. i have flown many hours without an autopilot. as far as what caused these incidents, i would be very reluctant to jump into prescribing some kind of blame, because there is not enough information at this point. >> well thank you, and i was thatto know this morning
the authorities had decided where to send the black box and reportedly that is the united kingdom. supposedly the nearest location where the expertise existed, and i certainly think i expressed the opinion of the entire senate that we get that information. >> i do -- senator blumenthal, just a point of reference, what we have to do is make sure pilots have a place where they can share information that can be disseminated to the world where they won't have retribution. if people start feeling like their information is going to be shared or they are going to have some kind of retribution, maybe they did not do something perfectly right, but we are all human and make errors. pilots need to feel like they can have a place they can share
information where they won't be punished. if we diminish their willingness less that we will be left safe, not more safe. >> i welcome your comment about the black box, mr. chairman. i want to make clear, let me repeat it, you should read act, delete identifying information that would in any way in danger the pilots' anonymity in making this report. i agree totally. theant to preserve protection against any sort of reprisal or retribution. that's a very important point. as soon as possible, and my office will follow-up with you. i hope you can provide the complete set of reports. i think it's important for americans and the world to know the problems pilots have encountered. >> yes sir. >> soon we will be doing a hearing on aviation safety.
thank you senator blumenthal. >> thank you to our witnesses and director of o'connell. i recognize the challenges we face as we try to maintain america's leadership in space and i look forward to working with our subcommittee chairman, full committeehe on this issue. our competitors across the globe continue to make significant advances in space exploration and development, and we must address this challenge head on. america's leadership in space strengthens our national security and spurs groundbreaking research and innovation. in arizona nasa has a stakeholder community comprised of industry, universities, and support service providers, and i'm proud to represent a state that is home to these sectors. worldview, raytheon, honeywell, state, andy, arizona
the university of arizona. that is just naming a handful. these partnerships ensure america is able to remain competitive as we enter into a new space race. my first question, education we know is critical to maintaining competitiveness in space both at nasa and the new space economy. could you speak about the challenges created by the aging workforce and retirements happening at nasa and what role can universities such as arizona state university play to ensure we are building a capable workforce? >> a wonderful question. you are correct in identifying a very real challenge -- and this is a good problem to have, i guess. people love to work at nasa, and .hen they work there, they stay i think our turnover is somewhere around 4% annually, in
fact, in some key fields like engineering and science, it is less than 2% annually. so in a way, that's good news. we been rated the best place in the u.s. government to work for six years in a row now. bow wave ofthis retirement coming. we look to universities to support the next generation of technologists, engineers, scientists, can fill those gaps. the university of arizona right now has an object in orbit around an asteroid in deep space called benu. it has been so far a successful mission and we look forward to the day they bring home a sample from that ash right which will be the first time in human history that has happened, led by a university in your home state of arizona. that's a big mission for nasa,
for the united states, for the whole world. it will make the covers of every newspaper when it happens. that's an important capability. arizona state university, top among them, getting students involved in the development in the research. what we like to do, is we like to go to the universities, engage them in their scientists, their engineers getting involved in these projects and those universities engage their students in that activity. when it comes to spectroscopy, arizona university is tops. because of that they are on all kinds of missions nasa currently has underway. the big think about steel ball, the psyche mission led by arizona state university.
the university is partnering with a lot of those industries you mentioned to accomplish these objectives. unique why this is a capability in the united states. we have the best university system in the world and nasa is a beneficiary of that capability. we want to keep doing those kinds of activities so we can have that pipeline flowing. we have to have people prepared and we are doing what we can right now with the support of the university to accomplish that. >> i do want to follow up on a question around a 2005 law congress passed, directing nasa to detect all near earth objects that are 140 meters or larger that can threaten the earth by 2020. scientists and engineers at the university of arizona have been hard at work building the ground-based observing infrastructure, conducting
research and cataloging their discoveries. we have reached our limits on what we can detect using ground-based observations. my question, can you provide an update on nasa cost progress toward meeting the mandate and how would this progress accelerate the additions of such things as the neo cam? >> when we think about that catalog we assess have catalogued about one third of those objects that are about 140 meters or larger and that is a positive thing. the university of arizona is at the center of those activities with a network of sensors around the world. you are also right in the sense that sensing those objects that are that small from earth is becoming very difficult. we have in orbit a project called tests, which is looking for planets around other stars. it has been a successful mission
already. it will continue to be successful, but here's what we have found. we did not launch it for this purpose, but it has demonstrated an ability to detect those objects that are 140 meters or bigger in ways that we did not anticipate. we are taking that capability as you mentioned, learn from that and put together the project as you mentioned, neo, the near earth object kind of project, to put a satellite in orbit so we can finish out that catalog ultimately to protect the earth. at the same time we have the dart mission which is going to demonstrate that we can -- if there is a risk to the earth we can maneuver -- droid -- an in deep space long before it is a risk to earth. the evidence is clear, the dinosaurs did not have a space program. we do.
we need to be prepared to do what is necessary to protect our planet and arizona has been fantastic in helping us do that. expired. thank you. >> well, thank you very much, senator. mr. o'connell. can you briefly discuss these regulatory issues, the risk of dual regulation that will hinder american businesses, and a wide range of unfair practices in the market including dumping space products, unfair provision of space services and other anti-competitive tactics you mentioned on page 2 and 1 of your testimony? what's the solution there? >> absolutely. on the dual regulation, other countries are developing their own regulatory regimes as they think about the strategic valg of space and also ways to
capture their part of the space economy. the risk is where especially with friendly countries we want some sort of a partnership between american companies and other elements in those other countries. >> what needs to be done there? >> we need to stay coordinated with the other countries so we're minimizing the regulations. harm nazing the regulations so they have minimal impact on the businesses. >> short of treaties? >> absolutely. >> well, keep us posted on what we need to do there. you mentioned it early on in your testimony, and you redoubled. gentlemen, thank you so much for your testimony, and i think people watching both here in washington d.c. and around the country will conclude that we are very well-served, and that we are on the verge of an exciting new chapter. so i want to thank you all, and i've got some words i'm supposed to read here.
the hearing record will remain open for two weeks during this time senators are asked to submit any questions for the record. upon receipt the witnesses are requested to submit their written answers to the committee as soon as possible. we had 17 senators attend this hearing today. 14 got to ask questions. i think it was a very fine hearing. and we conclude the hearing with our thanks to the witnesses. >> thank you,
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you by yourought to cable or satellite provider. >> president trump issued an emergency order to ground all boeing 737 max 8 and 9 airplanes until further notice. the u.s. joins several other countries grounding these aircraft after a deadly crash in ethiopia. the announcement came after a briefing with experts on drug trafficking at the southern border. this is 25 minutes. president trump: thank you very much. i know you have been following the terrible tragedy of the ethiopian airlines crash. tragic. the faa is prepared to make an announcement very shortly regarding new information and evidence we have received from the site and from other locations. through a couple of other complaints, we have had a very