Space Agency Chief Voices Support for NASA Bill Ahead of House Vote

NASAchief Charles Bolden is speaking out in favor of a pivotal space agencyauthorization bill awaiting a House floor vote today (Sept. 29).

Ina statement released today, Bolden ? who serves as NASA Administrator ? calledthe expected vote "historic" and said it will set the course for future human spaceflight in the UnitedStates.

TheHouse is expected tovoteon a version of a NASA authorization bill which the Senate approved on Aug. 5.The bill would allow NASA to add one extra shuttle flight to the two finalmissions already planned. It would give the agency a $19 billion budget for2011 and includes nearly $60 billion over three years for NASA.

Thebill would set aside some funding for NASA to begin work on a heavy-lift rocketin 2011 ? four years earlier than the White House's proposed plan. But it wouldnot award the full $3.3 billion over three years requested by NASA and WhiteHouse officials. Instead, it would allow about $1.3 billion over the samethree-year period. [What the Senate NASABills Says]

Here'sthe full text of Bolden's statement on the bill awaiting a vote by the U.S.House of Representatives:

?Weare on the verge of an historic vote in the House of Representatives on a comprehensiveNASA authorization bill that is expected to chart the futurecourse of human spaceflight for years to come. I am hopeful that S. 3729 ? the National Aeronautics and SpaceAdministration Authorization Act of 2010 ? will receive strong support in theHouse and be sent onto the President for his signature.

?Earlierthis year, President Obama laid out an ambitious new planfor NASA? one that helps blaze a new trail of innovation and discovery. His plan wouldinvest more in NASA; extend the life of the International space station; launcha commercial space transportation industry; foster the development ofpath-breaking technologies; help create thousands of new jobs; and embark on afundamentally more ambitious strategy to expand our frontiers in space.

?Passageof this bill represents an important step forward towards helping us achievekey goals the President has laid out. If passed, the bill would help put theU.S. space program on a more sustainable trajectory and inspire a newgeneration of Americans to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering,and mathematics. This important change in direction will not only help us charta new path in space, but can help us retool for the industries and jobs of thefuture that will be vital for long term economic growth. NASA appreciates allof the hard work and effort that has gone into advancing this legislation.

?Ialso salute our dedicated employees for continuing their good work and keepingtheir eyes on the prize during these important deliberations. Our workforce hasproven time and again that it can meet any challenge. Congress and thePresident are once again calling on us to step up and move this nation forwardin space exploration.

?NASAis grateful for the longstanding, bipartisan support that it receives from the Congress.There is still a lot of work ahead, especially as the 2011 appropriationsprocess

movesforward, but the continuing support for NASA ensures America?s spaceprogramwill remain at the forefront of pioneering new frontiers in science,technology, and exploration."

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