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What in another year might have been a routine hearing about NASA’s annual budget request turned into a heated, and sometimes partisan, exchange about the agency’s internal security practices and the broad state of the U.S. human spaceflight program.
Wolf then switched the subject to NASA’s human spaceflight program, questioning the agency’s management of the Commercial Crew Program: NASA’s plan to replace the shuttle with one of three commercially designed systems by late 2017. Since 2010, “we appropriated almost $2 billion for the program, including increases every fiscal year while the [NASA] top line has simultaneously been decreased,” Wolf said. “We protected this program,” the chairman said. Bolden did not see things that way. “The Congress has provided about $2 billion for commercial crew,” the NASA administrator acknowledged. However, “we have requested about $3 billion over time.”