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Senate Commerce Committee Passes Sen. Hutchison's NASA Authorization Bill

Press Release From: Sen. Hutchison
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2005

Legislation outlines national space exploration policy, requires completion of ISS

WASHINGTON The Senate Commerce Committee today approved 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, provides a legislative framework for a national space exploration policy, requires completion of the International Space Station (ISS) and prohibits a gap in U.S. human space flight capability.

"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. "The possibility of a gap in space flight must be eliminated if the U.S. wants to be a leader in space exploration."

The 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 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.

The future of the ISS is also addressed in the bill. It requires that the ISS be completed and seeks to ensure there is a contingency plan to address station servicing needs during any potential hiatus in U.S. capability to transport humans and cargo into space, eliminating the possibility of a gap in space access. The NASA Administrator would be required to report to Congress on any changes to the number of shuttle missions planned to assemble and supply the station.

Sen. Hutchison's legislation authorizes total appropriations for FY2007 through FY2010 at three percent above the president's FY2006 budget request. In addition, it includes language to ensure NASA completes a balanced science plan and requires a report to Congress every two years.

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