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Office of the Vice President



Concludes Redesign Can Substantially Reduce Cost and Preserve Science

Advisory Committee Chairman to Brief Vice President Today

WASHINGTON -- A special expert advisory committee created to review NASA proposals for the redesign of the space station concludes that the station can be redesigned to substantially reduce costs to U.S. taxpayers but still preserve the scientific and other goals of the project.

Dr. Charles M. Vest, the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Redesign of the Space Station and the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, delivers the report to Vice President Al Gore today. The Vice President and Dr. John H. Gibbons, the President's Science and Technology Advisor, meet with Dr. Vest today for a detailed briefing on the report.

"This report will provide an honest assessment of our options for redesigning the space station and provides us with critical information and analysis as we determine how best to structure America's space program in a way that maximizes our investment and ensures continued U.S. leadership," Vice President Gore said.

The Advisory Committee concludes that the cost estimates provided by the NASA redesign team are realistic and, while they are above the five-year ceilings recommended by the White House, they would still produce significant savings from the cost of the Space Station Freedom. The Advisory Committee strongly recommended a 30 percent reduction in NASA and contractor employees to ensure the success of the Space Station's development.

The NASA Station Redesign team proposed three alternatives, two of which are based on Space Station Freedom and a third, new proposal. The Advisory Committee said it believes the options worth further consideration are one that simplifies the Space Station Freedom and one that is a hybrid station using systems and infrastructure from the Space Shuttle program and Space Station Freedom.

President Clinton asked NASA to redesign Space Station Freedom and develop a more cost-effective proposal that would confront persistent problems with the program's cost-overruns and poor management while ensuring continued scientific and other benefits from the program.

The Advisory Committee also concluded:

The 21-member Advisory Panel included experts from the space program, industry, academia, and the military, as well as representatives from other countries involved in the Space Station --Canada, Japan, the European Space Agency, and Italy.