Washington, Apr 3 - Today Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at closing the manned space flight gap by extending the life of the space shuttle beyond 2010 and accelerating production of NASA's next generation launch vehicle through the Constellation program. Posey introduced this legislation with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).
"This legislation is critical to maintaining America's lead role in space exploration and I'd like to thank Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz for this opportunity to work together in introducing this bill," said Congressman Posey. "It just doesn't make sense to shut down the shuttle program, lay off Americans workers who are some of the best technicians in their field, and pay Russia to replace their services until a shuttle replacement comes online. Our investment in space has yielded major advancements in technology that have created millions of jobs for Americans and helped make America safer."
Specifically the American Space Access Act extends the life of the space shuttle until either NASA's next generation space system, Constellation, comes online or a domestic supplier is certified by NASA as capable of taking humans into space and docking with the space station. The bill also calls for bringing the Constellation program online earlier and authorizes the funds that are necessary for both of these activities. Rep. Posey said his legislation limits the upgrades performed on the shuttle to safety upgrades to reduce costs.
Although the details of the President's budget have yet to be released, based on his outline submitted in February, NASA is likely to be short of funds to keep the shuttle flying through 2010. Rep. Posey submitted a request today to the House Appropriations Committee asking for additional funding for 2010 to keep the shuttle operating; and to ensure that NASA does not take actions that would preclude them from flying the shuttle beyond 2010.