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Senators Hutchison and Mikulski Introduce NASA Funding Amendment

Press Release From: Sen. Hutchison
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2006

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Funds secured for Space Shuttle return to flight and hurricane damages

WASHINGTON Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space, and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the senior Democrat on the subcommittee, today introduced a $1 billion NASA funding amendment to the Fiscal Year 2007 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill.

The amendment provides funds to reimburse NASA for the costs of returning to flight following the Shuttle Columbia disaster and implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board recommendations. The funds will also provide relief for NASA facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Vital research was being cut to fund emergency repairs; this will restore core missions for NASA science.

"The shuttle's return to flight is crucial to America's continued leadership in space exploration," Sen. Hutchison said. "The successful completion of shuttle missions in the wake of the Columbia and Katrina disasters speaks to the dedication of the men and women of NASA. They deserve our full support in Congress."

Congress passed a similar measure in 1986 that provided NASA funding following the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. The amendment introduced today appropriates $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2007 to a new "Return to Flight" account to reimburse NASA for the costs of returning to flight and to fund significant science, aeronautics and exploration programs that were cut to pay for repairs.

The amendment also provides $40 million for repairs to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly in New Orleans, which were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The funds will also provide critical support for flight operations at Johnson Space Center.

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