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Senate Commerce Committee Approves National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2005

Press Release From: Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today approved S. 1281, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2005 by a unanimous vote. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space, introduced the 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) also co-sponsored the bill.

The legislation authorizes funding for NASA's programs for Fiscal Years 2006-2010. The authorization for FY 2006 and 2007 is consistent with the President's budget request, with the exception of an additional $100 million in fiscal year 2006 for International Space Station research. The authorization includes a NASA budget increase at the level of inflation for FY 2008-2010.

The bill addresses concerns about NASA's capability to launch humans into space once the space shuttle is retired. NASA is directed not to plan on or allow for a gap in human space flight without Congressional approval. In order to achieve this direction, NASA is authorized to conduct the Space Shuttle transition in a manner that uses the personnel, capabilities and infrastructure of the current Shuttle program. The NASA Administrator must report to Congress with an overall Shuttle transition plan, after completion of an overall assessment of space transportation requirements.

The bill directs NASA to implement a science program that extends human knowledge and understanding of the Earth, Sun, solar system and the universe. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2005 instructs NASA, as well, to develop an expanded permanent human presence on the Moon, and then extending from the Moon to Mars.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2005 establishes criteria for the development, capabilities and support of the International Space Station (ISS). Additionally, NASA is directed to ensure diverse and growing utilization of and benefits from the ISS.

The bill also requires NASA to conduct a balanced and broad science program, including the development of a plan for a Shuttle servicing mission to Hubble after completion of the first two "return-to-flight" Shuttle missions, unless such a mission would compromise astronaut safety or the integrity of NASA's other missions.

Manager's Amendment.

[EXCERPT]

COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
[STAFF WORKING DRAFT]
June 22, 2005
Purpose: To accommodate a number of requests for amendments
received after the bill was introduced.
IN THE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION—109TH Cong., 1ST Sess.
S. 1281, 109TH Congress, 1ST Session
JUNE 23, 2005

INTENDED to be proposed by Mr. STEVENS (for himself, Mr. INOUYE, Mrs. HUTCHISON, and Mr. NELSON of Florida)

SEC. 152. GAO ASSESSMENT OF FEASIBILITY OF MOON AND MARS EXPLORATION MISSIONS.

Within 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall transmit to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Science an assessment of the feasibility of NASA's planning for exploration of the Moon and Mars, giving special consideration to the long-term cost implications of program archi12 tecture and schedules.

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