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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Kosmas, Posey team up to take on Obama's space cuts



U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Bill Posey today introduced a bill that would maintain space shuttle missions, develop a new space vehicle and make other changes to a controversial NASA overhaul outlined by President Obama.

“This bill is intended to maintain a robust human spaceflight program that will protect Space Coast jobs, enhance our national security, and generate scientific and technological advances that boost our economy,” said Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach.

“Our bill takes a critical first step toward closing the gap by extending space shuttle flights,” said Posey, R-Rockledge. 

The legislation, a companion to a bill introduced by Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, has already drawn bipartisan support. A summary of the House bill is below:

  • Allow for shuttle extension to fully service and support ISS: Make shuttle retirement dependent on the availability of replacement capabilities for comparable size crew and cargo delivery, whether government-owned or commercial, or until it is conclusively demonstrated that the space shuttle cargo capabilities are not needed to ensure space station viability;
  • Maximize investment in ISS: Require International Space Station (ISS) operations and full utilization through at least 2020, and further establish the ISS National Laboratory operating mechanisms and procedures.  Instructs NASA to report to Congress on what resources and equipment are needed for ISS extension; 
  • Develop New NASA-Led Vehicle: Provide for the acceleration of a government-owned human space flight capability to as close to 2015 as possible; Provide for the near-term evaluation of heavy-lift rocket vehicle design options, including shuttle-derived and Constellation-derived options, to enable exploration beyond low-earth orbit and accelerate the start of vehicle design activity; 
  • Encourage Commercial Development: Directs NASA to issue safety requirements for human rating commercial crew vehicles; expand support for Commercial Orbital Space Transportation (COTS) to support ISS -- both for cargo and for eventual crew launch capability;
  • Increase NASA Funding: Authorize top-level funding for all of NASA's mission activities, but would only address the human space flight policy issues. Provides increase over the president’s request of $1.3 billion for FY2011 and $2.1 billion for FY2012 for continuation of the shuttle (at a rate of two missions a year) and additional ISS resources; 
  • Establish Exploration Vision: Reaffirm long-term goal of moving beyond low-Earth orbit whether to the Moon, Mars or alternative destinations.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:28pm]


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