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Lamar S.
Republican TX 21

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  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2015

    by Representative Lamar Smith

    Posted on 2015-02-10

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    SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, let me thank the chairman of the Subcommittee on Space for yielding me time. I also want to thank him and Donna Edwards, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Mo Brooks for sponsoring this bipartisan legislation.

    NASA has accomplished some of the most inspiring and technologically advanced space initiatives in the history of humankind. This bill, H.R. 810, the NASA Authorization Act of 2015, helps ensure that the United States will continue its proud tradition of being a world leader in space exploration.

    For more than 50 years, the U.S. has led the world in space exploration. The U.S. was the first nation to put a human on the Moon, and NASA's Voyager 1, an American space mission, was the first human- made object to enter interstellar space.

    Our astronauts are national heroes. Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Sally Ride are household names. Today's astronauts motivate students to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to reach for the stars.

    Space exploration is an investment in our Nation's future, sometimes our long-term future. This bill expresses bipartisan confidence in America's space initiatives.

    The bill is nearly identical to the one that passed the House last year by a vote of 401-2. It is consistent with current funding levels found in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act for 2015. It contains provisions for the development of American rockets that will take cargo and people to low-Earth orbit and beyond. It supports the James Webb Space Telescope, which will identify and characterize new planets in our galaxy and help researchers look back in time to see how the universe began.

    It directs NASA to continue to focus resources on the detection of near-Earth asteroids that may threaten the Earth and its inhabitants. It instructs NASA to design and send a robotic mission to Jupiter's moon Europa to see if any form of life exists in the waters under its icy surface. It directs NASA to work with the National Academies to put together a strategy for finding more exoplanets.

    The bill also requires NASA to develop a human exploration roadmap, similar to the recommendation made in last year's National Academy of Sciences report. This roadmap will provide a long-term plan for future human space exploration.

    Finally, this bill is an example of how well Congress can work together to accomplish an objective that benefits the entire Nation. I again want to thank Mr. Palazzo, chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, and Ms. Edwards, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Space, for finding common ground on this bill. I also want to thank the ranking member of the full committee, Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas and Representative Mo Brooks from Alabama, for supporting this bill as well.

    I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' and to help ensure that the United States maintains its leadership in space.

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