Senate Approves Sen. Hutchison's NASA Authorization Bill

Bill outlines national space exploration policy, requires completion of ISS

September 28, 2005

The Senate today passed by unanimous consent the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2005, legislation introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space. The legislation authorizes NASA for Fiscal Years 2006 through 2010, establishes a policy objective of uninterrupted U.S. spaceflight capability and requires completion of the International Space Station (ISS).


“Our national policy will determine the nation’s role in future space exploration and its contribution to broad research and our national security,” Sen. Hutchison said. “Minimizing the gap in space flight must be a goal if the U.S. wants to be a leader in space exploration. The NASA Administrator recently announced a new NASA plan which reduces the gap to as little as one year. I applaud his recognition of the concerns outlined in my bill and encourage action to narrow the gap even further.”


Sen. Hutchison’s NASA legislation designates the U.S. segment of the ISS as a national laboratory facility. The administrator would be required to outline operations and functions of the ISS national laboratory activities. Sen. Hutchison has acted with a focus on the broad research benefits and capabilities of the ISS.


“Designation of the ISS as a national laboratory will expand the variety of areas to which space research can be applied. Our future in space has unlimited potential that can be harnessed through appropriate guidance, oversight and accountability,” Sen. Hutchison said.


In addition, it includes language to ensure NASA completes a balanced science plan and requires a report to Congress every two years. The legislation also provides for the development of a National Aeronautics Research Plan to guide the course of future investments and priorities in this important area of NASA’s scientific activities.