WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today praised Congressional passage of the NASA Reauthorization Act of 2008, which would provide the agency $20.9 billion in funding for Fiscal Year 2009. The bill includes funds for a number of important NASA initiatives for which Senator Hutchison has strongly advocated, including rapidly shrinking the space gap and delivering the Alpha-Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station (ISS). The Senate passed the legislation late Thursday night and the House passed it today, so the bill now moves on to the President to be signed into law.
“Throughout my Senate career, I have been a strong supporter of NASA,” said Senator Hutchison. “This bill reaffirms our commitment to support the goals of U.S. space exploration policies at NASA, including activities related to Moon missions and Mars exploration. With other countries moving forward with manned spaceflight, the stakes are too high for America to lose its edge as the world leader in space exploration.”
The reauthorization includes a number of provisions to ensure the United States has uninterrupted human access to space, including a report on the lack of a U.S. human spaceflight system to replace the space shuttle and termination or suspension of any activities that would preclude flying the Shuttle after FY 2010. The reauthorization also directs NASA to take all necessary steps to fly an extra Shuttle mission to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the ISS. The bill requires NASA to develop a plan to support the operations of the ISS until at least 2020 to ensure that the ISS’s scientific capabilities are utilized to the maximum extent.
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