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SST Committee Approves Bipartisan NASA Authorization Act of 2018

Apr 17, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, chaired by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), today approved the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 5503) by a vote of 26-7. The bill was introduced by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), chairman of the Space Subcommittee, and cosponsored by Chairman Smith along with 17 committee members.

Chairman Smith: “The NASA Authorization Act of 2018 is a crucial step in restoring the greatness of American space exploration. With this bill, we ensure that NASA will focus on its priority missions, effectively leverage private sector partnerships and entrepreneurship, and continue space research that will launch America toward new scientific discoveries and worlds. Chairman Babin’s bill redoubles our commitment to U.S. leadership in space for decades to come. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for making this a bipartisan effort with a majority of the Democrats, including the Ranking Members of both the Full Committee and Space Subcommittee, voting in favor of the bill.”

Chairman Babin: “H.R. 5503 is forward-looking for NASA and our nation’s space program, providing robust funding to the Space Launch System, Orion and the International Space Station. This bipartisan bill ensures that America will continue to lead the world in human space flight, exploration, aeronautics and scientific research. The bill’s passage out of committee is an important step forward for American economic competitiveness.”

The bill is cosponsored by Chairman Smith, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.) Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.)

Background

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2018, as amended:

  • Authorizes $20.74 billion for NASA for fiscal year 2018, the level enacted in the recent Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, and $21.21 billion for NASA for fiscal year 2019
  • Supports President Trump’s vision of American space leadership by funding Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft
  • Supports NASA using American private sector innovation and investments to unlock the economic potential of outer space 
  • Funds NASA’s Planetary Science Division at $2.64 billion in fiscal year 2019, a $401 million increase from current funding levels, making possible all NASA-planned planetary missions, as well as:
    • A Mars sample return mission
    • A space-based infrared camera to support Near-Earth Objects survey
    • Additional support for the Europa mission
  • Funds NASA’s Earth Science Division at $1.92 billion in fiscal year 2019, freezing the current funding level, and requires NASA be reimbursed for work undertaken for the benefit of another agency
  • Supports initial implementation of NASA’s International Space Station Transition Report to foster the development of private sector capability with the goal of ending direct federal support by 2025
  • Enforces the Wide-Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) cost cap and requires an operational James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) prior to WFIRST launch procurement; sets aside $180 million in the NASA Astrophysics Division to address any justified recommendations of the JWST and WFIRST cost and schedule reviews currently underway
  • Includes a 21st Century Aeronautics Research Capabilities Initiative that enhances NASA’s infrastructure and computational capabilities to conduct cutting-edge flight demonstrations

The text of the bill can found here.

Issues: 
115th Congress