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108th Congress                                             Rept. 108-62
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                     Part 1

======================================================================



 
                     COLUMBIA ORBITER MEMORIAL ACT

                                _______
                                

 April 8, 2003.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Smith of New Jersey, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1297]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 1297) to require the construction at Arlington 
National Cemetery of a memorial to the crew of the Columbia 
Orbiter, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                              Introduction

    The reported bill reflects the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 1297.
    On March 13, 2003, Representative C. W. Bill Young 
introduced H.R. 1297, to require the construction at Arlington 
National Cemetery of a memorial to the crew of the Columbia 
Orbiter.
    On April 3, 2003, the full Committee met and ordered H.R. 
1297 reported favorably to the House by unanimous voice vote.

                      Summary of the Reported Bill

    H.R. 1297 would:

    1. LRequire the Secretary of the Army, in consultation with 
the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration, to construct at Arlington National Cemetery a 
memorial marker honoring the seven members of the crew of the 
Columbia Orbiter who died on February 1, 2003.

    2. LMake available $500,000 from the Operation and 
Maintenance, Army, account appropriated under title II of the 
Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2003 (Public Law 
107-248), for construction of the memorial.

    3. LAuthorize the Administrator of the National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration to accept gifts and donations of 
services, money, and property for the purpose of the 
construction of the memorial.

    4. LAuthorize the Administrator to transfer services, 
money, and property to the Secretary of the Army for the 
purpose of the construction of the memorial marker. Any money 
transferred would be merged into the funds available from the 
Operation and Maintenance, Army, account.

    5. LAuthorize the Administrator to accept gifts and 
donations for construction of the memorial for five years 
following the date of enactment of this Act.

                       Background and Discussion

    On January 16, 2003, at 10:39 a.m., the STS-107 Columbia 
launched into orbit for a 16-day microgravity research mission. 
Columbia was the oldest orbiter in the Shuttle fleet. In 1981, 
it was the first space shuttle to fly into Earth orbit. This 
was the 113th Shuttle Mission for Columbia. On board were seven 
astronauts: Crew Commander Rick Husband (Colonel, U.S. Air 
Force), Shuttle Pilot William McCool (Commander, U.S. Navy), 
Payload Commander Michael Anderson (Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. 
Air Force), Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Ph.D., Mission 
Specialist David Brown (Captain, U.S. Navy), Mission Specialist 
Laurel Blair Salton Clark, M.D. (Captain, U.S. Navy), and 
Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon (Colonel, Israel Air Force). STS-
107 Columbia was the first space flight experience for all but 
three of the crew members. The crew worked 24 hours a day in 
two alternating shifts, and conducted approximately 80 
scientific experiments.
    At 8:15 a.m. EST, on February 1, 2003, Columbia decelerated 
to begin the reentry phase into the atmosphere for a planned 
landing at Kennedy Space Center. At 8:52 a.m., Columbia crossed 
over the coast of California. At 8:58 a.m., Columbia was over 
New Mexico. Loss of communication with the crew and of data 
occurred shortly after 8:59 a.m. About 16 minutes before its 
scheduled landing, the shuttle broke up while traveling at 
12,500 miles per hour at an altitude of 207,135 feet over East 
Central Texas, resulting in the loss of both the Columbia and 
its crew.
    Lieutenant Colonel Anderson, Captain Brown, and Captain 
Clark are interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
    H.R. 1297 would authorize the construction of a memorial 
honoring the seven crew members of STS-107 Columbia, all of 
whom excelled in their careers and died while fulfilling their 
dreams of traveling in space.
    A precedent for this memorial at Arlington National 
Cemetery currently exists. On January 28, 1986, the Shuttle 
Challenger exploded just seconds after take off, killing all 
seven crew members on board. The pilot of the Challenger, 
Captain Michael Smith, and the Shuttle Commander, Francis 
``Dick'' Scobee, were interred at Arlington National Cemetery. 
The unidentified remains of all seven astronauts were later 
interred near Commander Scobee's grave. On June 12, 1986, the 
99th Congress passed a concurrent resolution authorizing the 
Secretary of the Army to construct and place a memorial at 
Arlington National Cemetery honoring all seven members of the 
Challenger crew. The memorial was dedicated on March 21, 1987.
    It is the Committee's intent that a memorial similar in 
stature to the Challenger memorial be erected in honor of the 
Columbia crew.

                      Section-By-Section Analysis

    Section 1 would provide that this Act be cited as the 
``Columbia Orbiter Memorial Act''.
    Section 2(a) would require the Secretary of the Army, in 
consultation with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics 
and Space Administration, to construct at Arlington National 
Cemetery, a memorial marker honoring the seven crew members of 
the Columbia Orbiter who died on February 1, 2003, during the 
landing of space shuttle mission STS-107.
    Section 2(b) would provide that $500,000 from title II of 
the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2003 (Public Law 
107-248), Operation and Maintenance, Army, be available for the 
construction of the memorial marker required by subsection (a).
    Section 3(a) would provide the Administrator of the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration the authority to 
accept gifts and donations of services, money and property 
(including personal, tangible, or intangible property) for the 
purpose of an appropriate memorial or monument, whether such 
memorial or monument is constructed by the Administrator or is 
the memorial marker required by section 2.
    Section 3(b)(1) would provide authority for the 
Administrator to transfer to the Secretary of the Army any 
services, money, or property accepted by the Administrator for 
the purpose of the construction of the memorial marker.
    Section 3(b)(2) would require that any moneys transferred 
to the Secretary under paragraph 3(1) be merged with 
appropriated amounts from the Operation And Maintenance, Army 
account.
    Section 3(c) would provide that the authority for the 
Administrator to accept gifts and donations for the 
construction of a memorial expires five years after date of 
enactment of this Act.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The reported bill would authorize a memorial in Arlington 
National Cemetery in honor of the Columbia Shuttle crew, who 
died on February 1, 2003. The Cemetery's performance goals and 
objectives are established in annual performance plans and are 
subject to the Committee's regular oversight.

              Statement of the Views of the Administration

    At the time of consideration, views of the Administration 
were not available.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    The following letter was received from the Congressional 
Budget Office concerning the cost of the reported bill:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, April 4, 2003
Hon. Christopher H. Smith,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1297, the Columbia 
Orbiter Memorial Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Melissa E. 
Zimmerman, who can be reached at 226-2840.

            Sincerely,
                                       Douglas Holtz-Eakin,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

 H.R. 1297, Columbia Orbiter Memorial Act, As ordered reported by the 
         House Committee on Veterans' Affairs on April 3, 2003

    H.R. 1297 would direct the Secretary of the Army to 
construct a memorial marker located in Arlington National 
Cemetery to honor the astronauts who died in the Columbia space 
shuttle accident on February 1, 2003, and would earmark 
$500,000 from funds made available by title II of the 
Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2003 to be used to 
construct the memorial marker. The bill also would authorize 
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to 
collect donations that may be transferred to the Secretary of 
the Army to pay for construction of the memorial.
    According to information provided by Arlington National 
Cemetery, CBO expects that the Columbia Orbiter Memorial would 
be similar in size and cost to an existing memorial marker 
dedicated to the astronauts who died in the Challenger space 
shuttle accident in 1986. That memorial marker was dedicated in 
1987 and cost about $10,000.
    After adjusting the cost of the Challenger memorial marker 
to account for inflation, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 
1297 would cost less than $20,000 and that some of that cost 
may be offset by donations collected by NASA. (Donations are 
recorded on the budget as revenues.)
    H.R. 1297 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    On April 2, 2003, CBO transmitted cost estimates for H.R. 
1297 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Science on 
March 26, 2003, and for S. 628 as passed by the Senate on March 
18, 2003. All three versions of the legislation are identical, 
as are the three estimates.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Melissa E. 
Zimmerman, who can be reached at 226-2840. This estimate was 
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                     Statement of Federal Mandates

    The reported bill would not establish a federal mandate 
under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, Public Law 104-4.

                 Statement of Constitutional Authority

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8, of the United States 
Constitution, the reported bill is authorized by Congress' 
power to ``provide for the common Defense and general Welfare 
of the United States.''