This important vote today in the House of Representatives on a comprehensive NASA authorization charts a vital new future for the course of human space exploration. We are grateful that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 received strong support in the House after its clearance in the Senate, and can now be sent on to the President for his signature.
The President has laid out an ambitious new plan for NASA that pioneers new frontiers of innovation and discovery. The plan invests more in NASA; extends the life of the International Space Station; launches a commercial space transportation industry; fosters the development of path-breaking technologies; and helps create thousands of new jobs. Passage of this bill represents an important step forward towards helping us achieve the key goals set by the President.
This important change in direction will not only help us chart a new path in space, but can help us retool for the industries and jobs of the future that will be vital for long term economic growth.
NASA appreciates all of the hard work and effort that has gone into advancing this legislation.
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.)
I see today’s floor consideration to be only one more step in crafting a sustainable, affordable, and productive future path for NASA, and to ensuring stability and clarity to the NASA workforce and larger space community. To that end, I plan to continue to advocate to the Appropriators for the provisions in the Compromise language we released last week. I believe that the Compromise language provides a solid basis for NASA’s future activities.
It has been a difficult year for NASA and its civil servants and contractor workforce. We are in tough economic times, and sacrifices will have to be made. However, NASA is an investment in our future, and in the future of our children. The United States has been a global leader in space exploration and technology and innovation, and our efforts over the remainder of this Congress should be aimed at preserving that leadership position.
While I am not completely satisfied with the Senate bill, I am very pleased it passed. Congress is obligated to provide clear policy direction to NASA to keep vital agency programs funded and on track. While I preferred the compromise language offered by Chairman Gordon, I am pleased that we were at least able to pass a bill.
This Administration’s misguided plan for human spaceflight would put NASA on a dangerous and unproven path. It is essential for Congress to weigh-in and pass a bill to counter these policy objectives; otherwise we would essentially be rubberstamping the White House plan.
S. 3729 keeps important programs funded, directs NASA to develop a multipurpose crew vehicle and a new heavy-lift launch system, and allows commercial space companies to prove their capabilities. Without a bill, the jobs of a world class NASA workforce and thousands of highly-skilled private contractors who support human space flight would have been lost.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)
This year’s NASA Authorization Act will rejuvenate the spirit of exploration that has characterized the Agency since its foundation. It shifts focus from maintaining an aging shuttle fleet to a renewed focus on scientific exploration and technological discovery. It replaces an over-budget and behind-schedule program with a sustainable architecture that will enable the Agency to explore more of our universe.
California is the natural place for NASA’s new, innovative direction to begin. The bill is a win for NASA, as well as a win for California and its workforce. The three California Centers (including Ames) are the nation’s leaders in technology research and will benefit from an increased focus on R&D. Investment in the commercial space industry will lower costs for NASA, while creating high-tech jobs throughout the state. The bill will also provide the workforce at NASA centers around the country with the certainty, stability and support they deserve for the inspiring work they do.