The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) urges every commercial space supporter to take action immediately. Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will bring to a vote the NASA Reauthorization Act. Unfortunately, they have decided to continue the failed policy that is Constellation.
“Although they’ve done their best to appear to be compromising,” Space Frontier Foundation Executive Director Will Watson states, “the fine text makes it clear that
they want to continue Constellation.”
Although Chairman Gordon has “tweaked” the language, if you look carefully, you’ll find the numerous landmines. For commercial crew, it:
- Mandates 24 separate restrictions on the development of commercial crew, which is THREE TIMES more restrictions than the Senate bill.
- Merges the budgets of Commercial Cargo with Commercial Crew, resulting in cuts of over 33% of the Senate Bill, and 51% of the President’s request. And depending on the allocation of future funds, this cut may wind up being as much as 80%.
These 2 issues will result in extending our dependence on Russia, postponing improved access to the ISS for scientists and engineers to do research, and pushing off Americans’ chances to fly into orbit on an American rocket. This is completely unacceptable, and is more than enough reason to oppose the Senate bill.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. HR 5781 also:
- Tweaks the heavy lift language of the Senate bill to allow NASA to continue developing Ares I if the agency wanted to, all in a desperate ploy to continue the unsustainable Constellation program as-is.
- Mandates that NASA give Congress 30 days notice before terminating or allowing any Constellation contracts to lapse, and gives special dispensation to the Ares solid rocket motors.
This is a level of pork that should be unacceptable to all citizens, and certainly to anyone concerned about the future of space. We urge our advocates and anyone who cares about space to call their Representative TODAY.
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- Call the capital switchboard at (202) 224-3121.Tell them where you live, and they’ll connect you directly to your Representative.
- When talking to your Representative, ask them to vote against House bill HR5781 or any House-written NASA Authorization bill if it comes to the floor this Friday or next week, and instead vote to pass Senate bill S3729 before the House recesses for the election.
- If your Congressman is a Democrat, ask them to contact Majority Leader Hoyer in opposition to any NASA bill other than Senate bill S3729 coming to the floor, and to request that S3729 be brought to the floor for an up or down vote next week.
- If your Congressman is a Republican, ask them to contact Minority Whip Eric Cantor in opposition to any NASA bill other than Senate bill S3729 coming to the floor, and to request that S3729 be brought to the floor for an up or down vote next week.
This is a battle that we can win, but only if we make our voice heard. Otherwise, special interests will continue to dictate the direction of NASA & U.S. space policy.