AGU testifies on Space Station's cost


  • Lynn Teo Simarski


On May 1, before a standing-room-only House hearing, Representative Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) hammered hard questions at Richard Truly, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, over the cost of the redesigned Space Station Freedom. AGU President G. Brent Dalrymple was also invited to testify about the station's cost and scientific merit as part of an expert panel before the House Government Operations subcommittee on government activities and transportation. Other witnesses included another AGU member, Louis J. Lanzerotti, chairman of the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council.

The hearing, which ran three-and-a-half intense hours, dealt with new estimates of Freedom's cost that are well in excess of NASA's $30 billion figure for the revised design. Charles A. Bowsher, U.S. comptroller general, testified about a new study by the General Accounting Office that estimates a $118 billion cost for the station, more than triple NASA's figure. AGU's testimony and the subcommittee's staff both projected an even higher figure—$180 billion—although they used different assumptions to reach it.