WASHINGTON -U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law the NASA Authorization Act of 2008(H.R. 6063), a policy bill that endorses U.S. plans to return to the Moon, setsbudget targets for NASA programs and requires the agency to conduct anadditional space shuttle flight to deliver a multibillion dollar sciencepayload to the International Space Station.
The billalso baselines twospace shuttle logistics flights to the space station that NASA had beenrequired to label "contingency" since it lacked White House approvalfor them.
H.R. 6063was one of a dozen bills the White House announced Oct. 15 that Bush had signedearlier that day.
The WhiteHouse statement announcing the slate of newly signed bills says H.R. 6063"requires NASA to add to its baseline flight manifest two Space Shuttlemissions to the International Space Station and take all necessary steps to flya third additional Shuttle mission; requires NASA to take steps to ensure thatthe International Space Station remains viable through at least 2020; andaffirms congressional supportfor U.S. space exploration policy."
The U.S.Congress sent thebill to Bush Oct. 6. Under U.S. law he had until midnight Oct. 17 to signthe bill or else it would have been considered vetoed by default.
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Brian Berger is the Editor-in-Chief of SpaceNews, a bi-weekly space industry news magazine, and SpaceNews.com. He joined SpaceNews covering NASA in 1998 and was named Senior Staff Writer in 2004 before becoming Deputy Editor in 2008. Brian's reporting on NASA's 2003 Columbia space shuttle accident and received the Communications Award from the National Space Club Huntsville Chapter in 2019. Brian received a bachelor's degree in magazine production and editing from Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.