Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space, introduced the original Senate legislation, which was co-sponsored by the subcommittee’s Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Co-Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), and Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.) also co-sponsored the bill.
The conference report provides a comprehensive framework for NASA’s science and aeronautics programs, while also laying out key policy elements to support a transition from NASA’s current human space flight programs towards a permanent human presence on the Moon, starting in the next decade. That transition will be enabled by new crew and cargo transportation systems based on Space Shuttle system elements. The conference report also provides for completion and robust utilization of the International Space Station (ISS), the development of the capabilities to use space resources, and increased innovative approaches, such as prize competitions to help spur space development and exploration. Finally, the conference report provides for a national aeronautics policy to ensure that that the U.S. leadership in aviation continues.
The conference report authorizes NASA for two years beginning with $17.9 billion in FY 2007 and $18.7 billion in FY 2008. Within the totals, increased funding for the Shuttle was provided to allow for an effective transition to the next generation of manned space flight vehicles, known as the Crew Exploration and Launch Vehicles, as well as completing assembly of the ISS.
The Committee approved S. 1281 by a unanimous vote on June 23, 2005. The full Senate passed the measure on September 28, 2005.