Adding new voices to the debate over NASA’s future, Senator Rockefeller (D-W.V.), Senator Warner (D-Virginia), and Senator Brownback (R-Kansas) attended today’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing and registered supportive comments concerning the commercial space industry.
Senator Rockefeller (Committee Chairman) stated, “The American people deserve the most from their space program. NASA’s role cannot stay static. The President has challenged the United States Government to seek greater international collaboration, enable commercial services and develop new exploration technologies leading to human expansion beyond low-Earth orbit. These are good priorities and should help ensure that in tough fiscal times, we build our space future in a measured, relevant, innovative, and sustainable way. This is not easy to do but we can do it – and we must. NASA cannot continue down the same path.”
Senator Brownback stated, “I am a strong supporter of NASA, as I mentioned, and of the commercial space industry … With the impending retirement of the Shuttle, NASA is now assuming a much different role than in our past space effort, and I think there is great opportunity to have a space program that leads the world but will be a space program that is firmly embedded in opportunity for all. By opening up commercial space, it ensures a strong future for the US and the competitive aerospace industry.”
Senator Warner stated, “I do think there’s interesting opportunities to leverage off of things like the X PRIZE Foundation and the kind of energy that that generated in this sector … I think it [commercialization] holds some great possibilities and opportunities, particularly possibilities for Wallops as a facility in the commonwealth of Virginia.” (Wallops is a spaceport located in Virginia’s eastern shore.)
Senators Rockefeller, Brownback, and Warner’s statements join other voices from both political parties including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), Newt Gingrich (R), and Norm Mineta (who served under both the Clinton and Bush administrations) in support of commercial spaceflight in Low Earth Orbit, as proposed by President Obama in his new plan for NASA.
The webcast of the hearing can be viewed at the following URL. Brownback’s comments begin 47:10 into the video, and Warner’s at 120:20. http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=54f5c39e-f62c-487f-b9ed-fd4be38d096f
Rockefeller’s statement is available online at http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=c7e0dd7e-f059-4aca-80f4-87cc94e5506b
About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit www.commercialspaceflight.org or contact Executive Director John Gedmark at email@example.com or at 202.349.1121.