Senate bill seeks extension of space station


WASHINGTON – A bill submitted by a bipartisan pair of senators on Feb. 27 would authorize an extension of the International Space Station by 2030 and also make the permanent human occupation of space a national goal.

Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) Introduced the Act to Advance Human Flight on February 27, with its central provision authorizing an extension of ISS operations from 2024 to 2030.

Other members of Congress sought such an extension last year in response to a proposal from NASA's 2019 fiscal year budget proposal to end federal direct funding of the station in 2025, part of an effort to market low-Earth orbit operations. The Space Frontier Act, introduced last summer by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Included a similar extension of ISS operations through 2030.

The Space Frontier Act passed the Senate unanimously in December but died in the House when it failed to get a two-thirds majority required by the suspension of the rules, a House mechanism for accelerated passage of non-controversial bills. The opposition in the House, however, relied on other provisions of the bill that deal with the regulatory reform of the commercial space rather than the extension of the ISS.

Cruz said in a speech in January that he would seek to reintroduce the Space Frontier Act. Or that bill or a separate NASA clearance act he's planning would likely include the ISS extension, he said then.

Other sections of the 12-page Human Aviation Human Advance Act include requirements for reporting on an ISS transition strategy, the development of other human space facilities within or beyond Earth orbit, and life support systems. He also directs NASA to establish an advanced space suits program at the Johnson Space Center.

Perhaps the most advanced part of the bill would change the National Aeronautics and Space Law to make the settlement of human space a national goal, inserting a language stating that "the settlement of human space and a flourishing space economy will increase the general well-being of U.S. "

The term "settlement of human space" is defined in the project as "a community in space or in a celestial body in which humans live on a permanent basis and engage in personal and commercial activities that allow growth over time, with the goal of becoming economically and biologically self-sustaining as part of a larger network of human space settlements. "

"The only way to continue learning about the universe around us is to aim high and dream high," Cornyn said in a statement on the project. He added in the statement that the project was developed with "Houston Space Community Information".

"This bipartisan legislation will ensure that the military and women at NASA can continue their research and exploration missions, and I look forward to seeing the pioneering solutions that drive the next era of innovation," said Peters, a former ranking member subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, in the statement.

This bill is not the first time that Cornyn, who is not usually as active on space issues as Cruz, his Texas counterpart, has introduced a comprehensive space bill. In January 2017 he introduced the mapping of a new and innovative focus on our exploration strategy (MANIFEST) for the human space flight law. This bill and the complementary legislation introduced in the Chamber by the then deputy. John Culberson (R-Texas) has called for the development of a strategic missions plan that will lead to a human mission to Mars.

"By requiring a NASA strategic plan, this project will help focus existing resources to meet our long-term goal of landing a human on Mars," Cornyn said in a statement on MANIFEST for the Human Space Flight Act in 2017. bill does not advance the House or Senate after its introduction in 2017, and the new Advance Human Spaceflight Act makes no mention of Mars.


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