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American Astronomical Society Supports Senators' Efforts to Secure Emergency Appropriations for NASA

Press Release From: American Astronomical Society
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2006

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In a statement released today ( and included in its entirety below ), the American Astronomical Society, representing more than 5700 professional astronomers from the US, expressed support for the efforts of Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to secure emergency appropriations for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

AAS President, J. Craig Wheeler, the Samuel T. and Fern Yanagisawa Regents Professor of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin, said "NASA science is fundamental to the Vision for Space Exploration. By introducing this amendment, Senators Hutchison and Mikulski are trying to ensure that NASA can accomplish all of the missions the American people expect from their space agency."

Executive Officer Kevin Marvel said, "Emergency appropriations should be used by Congress to offset unexpected additional costs, like those incurred by NASA in recovering from the shuttle Challenger and Columbia disasters. Extra money was made available when the Challenger accident took place in 1986. Senators Hutchison and Mikulski have rightly decided that additional funds should be provided to NASA to cover the costs caused by the Columbia disaster and hurricane Katrina. I'm glad they are helping provide the resources NASA needs to do both the exploration and the scientific research the President outlined in his Vision for Space Exploration."

AAS SUPPORTS NASA EMERGENCY APPROPRIATIONS

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) congratulates NASA on its recent successful return to flight of the Space Shuttle; however, return to flight has been a substantial unexpected expense. NASA faces significant outstanding fiscal challenges that include maintaining the Shuttle, completing the International Space Station, and fulfilling the Vision for Space Exploration. The AAS believes that meeting these challenges should not diminish the high quality science that NASA undertakes on behalf of the American taxpayer.

The AAS commends Senators Mikulski and Hutchison for their leadership in proposing an emergency supplement to NASA's FY07 appropriations that will help to compensate for the unexpected expenses associated with the Shuttle Columbia accident and damage to NASA facilities caused by Hurricane Katrina. This emergency funding request will alleviate severe cuts to NASA's space science program that are being taken to fully fund the Space Shuttle and the ISS -- costs for which there was never an adequate budget. The AAS pledges to work with Senators Mikulski and Hutchison along with their colleagues in the Congress to ensure the long-term health of NASA.

Dr. J. Craig Wheeler, President, wheel@astro.as.utexas.edu, (Office) 512-471-6407

Dr. Kevin B. Marvel, Executive Officer, marvel@aas.org, (Office) 202-328-2010 x114(Cell) 703-589-7503

Dr. Lynn Cominsky, Deputy Press Officer, lynnc@universe.sonoma.edu, (Office) (707) 664-2655

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