Washington D.C. – Today the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget request submitted by NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) and to examine its programs and strategies.

“Aeronautics research and development and the technologies they spin off are critical to our national security and to the ongoing success of our nation’s aerospace industrial base, which is our country’s greatest source of exports,” said Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS).  “No other enterprise has played a greater role producing innovative aeronautics technologies than NASA.”

ARMD’s request was submitted as part of the NASA budget in mid-February, seeking $551.5 million for FY13, which is $17.9 million below its FY12 funding level. ARMD conducts NASA’s aeronautics programs, focusing on long-term investments in fundamental aeronautics research, such as flight management systems, efficient turbine engines, and airframe and wing designs. Additionally, ARMD researches and matures technologies that underpin the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic management system.

Discussing the continued role of ARMD working in conjunction with the private sector, Dr. Jaiwon Shin, Associate Administrator of ARMD said, “Through the research we conduct and research we sponsor with universities and industry, we help to develop the technology that enables continuous innovation in aviation.”  Dr. Shin said that “U.S. companies are well positioned to build on discoveries and knowledge resulting from NASA research, turning them into commercial products, benefiting the quality of life for our citizens, providing new high-quality engineering and manufacturing job opportunities, and enabling the United States to remain competitive in the global economy.”

Witnesses also discussed a recent report by the National Research Council titled, Recapturing NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities, which looked into the efficacy and affordability of strengthening the Agency’s integrated flight research program.

Dr. Wesley Harris, Chair of the Committee to Assess NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities, testified that NASA plays an important role in aeronautics research and flight research.  Dr. Harris said that the committee “concluded that industry in these economic times cannot and will not take on the full cost risk of moving technologies from the laboratory to operations. NASA’s founding charter tasks the agency to help with this process. NASA’s role is to develop requirements for the next research vehicles and then work with industry to build and test those aircraft.”

Chairman Palazzo echoed the importance of ARMD research.  “If our domestic industry is to maintain leadership in the years ahead, it’s essential that research and development continue to produce more efficient, cleaner, and robust aircraft, not only to distinguish our products from competitors, but to preserve the role of aviation as the safest, fastest, most convenient, and most environmentally benign source of transport,” Palazzo said.

The following witnesses testified today before the Committee:

Dr. Jaiwon Shin, Associate Administrator, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Ms. Marion Blakey
, Chair, Aeronautics Committee, NASA Advisory Council, and President, Aerospace Industries Association
Dr. Wesley Harris
, Chair, Committee to Assess NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities, National Research Council, and Charles Stark Draper Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
Dr.  John Tracy
, Chair, National Research Council’s Aeronautics Research and Technology Roundtable, and Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering, Operations and Technology, The Boeing Company