Ranking Member Cantwell Statement on NASA Lunar Lander Award

April 30, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today released the below statement after NASA announced the companies selected to build human-class lunar landers for the Artemis program. These human landing systems (HLS) will carry the first woman and the next man to the Moon’s surface in the next decade, with the end goal of human exploration of Mars.

“Our country is going back to the Moon, and lunar landers built in Washington state will play a key role,” Ranking Member Cantwell said. “Washington played a big role in the Apollo program, and I am proud that we will put hundreds of our highly skilled aerospace workers back on the job to support America’s next mission into outer space. Congratulations to the Blue Origin team on this achievement.”

In a February Commerce Committee hearing, Ranking Member Cantwell noted the importance of the aerospace economy to the Pacific Northwest. “The space economy to the state of Washington is tremendously important. It’s a $1.8 billion economy and with companies like Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Aerojet Rocketdyne, thousands of jobs are dependent on how the country continues to move forward in this area,” Senator Cantwell said.

Last year, Ranking Member Cantwell partnered with Chairman Wicker and other colleagues on the NASA Reauthorization bill which paved the way for today’s announcement. 

“Washington state has been a leader in the space program for over 50 years, and with this legislation our state is poised to be a key part of NASA’s return to the Moon,” said Cantwell upon the bill’s introduction. “This time, women will be included at every level of the lunar exploration program—something that is long overdue.”