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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2015

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-02-10

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    JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, as a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee and a former member of the Science Committee I am in strong support of, H.R. 810, The NASA Authorization Act of 2015.'' Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson for their work to bring the NASA Authorization Act of 2015 before the House for consideration.

    There is historic congressional support for NASA in Congress, and I am at the forefront of that support.

    I served on the House Science Committee for 12 years; and I am in strong support of the NASA Authorization Act of 2015, as the best way forward to strengthen NASA into the future and to avoid dismantling the manned space program.

    This legislation will protect American and Texan jobs, saving more than while, driving innovation, and ensure our Nation's youth are encouraged to pursue careers in science, exploration, engineering, technology, and math.

    The United States space program has existed for over half a century and my commitment to providing NASA with the resources to carry the agency forward with its ambitious agenda of research, exploration, and discovery is unwavering.

    It is our job as members of Congress to make sure that NASA continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, keeping our Nation on the forefront of innovation and exploration.

    This bill authorizes programs and projects at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15).

    This authorization bill's funding is consistent with the funding $18,010,200,000 In appropriations for NASA in the Consolidated and Further Appropriations Act, 2015 bill passed at the end of the 113th Congress.

    NASA continues to be the world's premier space organization.

    This bill seeks to maintain sustainability of purpose and budget for NASA programs, continuing the congressional commitment provided in previous reauthorizations in 2005, 2008, and 2010 to space exploration, both human and robotic.

    This legislation makes clear that a human mission to Mars is the goal for NASA's human spaceflight program and requires the development of a roadmap to achieve that goal, as well as biennial updates.

    In the near-term, the primary tasks for NASA human spaceflight include: Realizing the research potential of the International Space Station (ISS) with an Office of Science & Technology Policy-led strategic plan for all science agencies to conduct research on the Station.

    Continued commitment to develop the Space Launch System and Orion Crew Vehicle to serve as a backup system to support the ISS if necessary.

    NASA will be able to engage in the educational and outreach activities necessary to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum and inspire the next generation of explorers.

    The authorization will assist in building at least one Commercial Crew system (with NASA funds) to carry American astronauts on American rockets safely, reliably, and affordably to and from the International Space Station so that we are no longer reliant on Russia for crew access.

    The bill emphasizes the importance of maintaining a steady cadence of science missions, including a Europa mission with a goal of launching by 2021.

    The bill directs NASA and the NASA to provide Congress with a report assessing the long-term goals of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, which includes the Mars 2020 rover.

    To reflect the increase in the number of newly discovered planets outside our solar system, the legislation also directs NASA and the NAS to provide an exoplanet exploration strategy.

    This bill stresses the importance of completing and expanding the Congressionally mandated near-Earth object survey to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize near-Earth objects 140 meters in diameter or larger.

    This authorization addresses an issue of great importance to a sustained and healthy space program.

    The bill provides NASA with the agility to develop a plan to better position the agency to have the facilities and infrastructure necessary to meet future requirements including those set forth in the human exploration roadmap.

    [[Page H892]] It is the responsibility of this Congress to ensure that the future of NASA is one of continued progress and that space exploration remains a part of our national destiny.

    NASA inspires our children to look to the stars and dream of what they too may achieve one day.

    Space exploration allows us to push the bounds of our scientific knowledge, as we carry out research projects not possible within the constraints of planet Earth.

    I look forward to the reintroduction of the REAL Space Act this Congress and ask that my colleagues support this important measure.

    In recent years, we have seen other nations joining in the space race with varying levels of success.

    We applaud these efforts, which include: The European Space Agency's success in landing a vehicle on a comet that was speeding through deep space; and China's landing its first rover ``Jade Rabbit'' on the surface of the moon.

    Exploration of space remains critical to United States leadership and economic trendsetting position in the global economy.

    The future is space, and I support NASA's continued progress to ensure the United States retains its leadership in this vital area of human exploration.

    I ask that my colleagues join me in voting for H.R. 810.

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