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AIAA President Urges House to Pass NASA Authorization Act, HR 6063

Press Release From: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2008

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Bill Would Help NASA Activities Crucial to U.S. National and Economic Security

In a statement released today, George K. Muellner, President of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), urged the House of Representatives to support HR 6063, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2008. He said that by helping NASA maintain its technological leadership, the legislation would "greatly aid America's national and economic security in the twenty-first century."

Muellner stated: "I applaud the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science for the commitment they have made in this legislation toward meeting our nation's crucial priorities in aerospace research and development. In an ever more competitive world, the course we chart now will affect our ability to maintain both our national security and our economic leadership. This bill will permit NASA to continue to support cutting-edge aerospace technology R&D, to meet the schedule of our national Vision for Space Exploration, and to help develop the next generation of aerospace professionals we will need for future technology development and for future mission vision and support."

The bill would increase the NASA budget by $1.6 billion over the President's fiscal year 2009 request, providing additional funding for several key NASA programs. In particular, HR 6063 would increase funding for NASA's Aeronautics R&D programs by $407 million, returning those programs to their FY 06 level. Muellner stressed that as foreign competitors increase market share, as the aerospace sector is challenged to reduce its carbon footprint, and as fuel costs continue to escalate, it is "critical that the U.S. be able to develop aeronautical products with more efficient, effective capabilities."

HR 6063 would also provide necessary additional funding to NASA's space budget, which Muellner noted will "help bridge the gap in human space flight capabilities between the stand-down of the Shuttle program and the initial operation of the Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle and Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle." It provides an added $1 billion to support the timely development of Ares and Orion, $150 million for the Shuttle program to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station, and also supports the Commercial Orbital Transportation Service (COTS) demonstration programs that will encourage commercial development of alternative vehicles to help bridge the gap in crew launch capabilities.

Muellner also noted that HR 6063 would prompt an assessment of the impact of current technology export control policies on the ability of the U.S. aerospace industry to compete in global markets. He said it was important to determine if export control policies "are actually having the intended result, or if instead their unintended consequences merit changing course."

For the full text of Muellner's statement visit http://www.aiaa.org/pdf/public/MuellnerPSHR6063_03June08.pdf

AIAA advances the state of aerospace science, engineering, and technological leadership. Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., the Institute serves over 35,000 members in 65 regional sections and 79 countries. AIAA membership is drawn from all levels of industry, academia, private research organizations, and government. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org.

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