A bill directing NASA to fly an additional space shuttle mission to deliver the $1 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station cleared the House Science and Technology space and aeronautics subcommittee. The NASA Authorization Act of 2008 (H.R. 6063) was quickly approved sent on to the full committee for consideration. The bill also authorizes a $19.2 billion budget for NASA for 2009, or about $1.6 billion more than the White House is requesting. Additionally, it would authorize an additional $1 billion in 2009 to accelerate development of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and Ares I launcher. Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), the subcommittee’s chairman, introduced the legislation five days ago, stating concerns about the five-year gap between when the shuttle is retired to when the Orion vehicle will be ready to transport crew and supplies to the ISS.
The legislation would still put NASA on pace to return to the Moon around 2020. But it also would provide more funds for climate monitoring satellites, such as a new Landsat satellite, and Glory, which would gather data on aerosols and black carbon in Earth’s atmosphere. The additional shuttle flight to bring the spectrometer science payload to the ISS would ease concerns of the international partners and reverse a controversial cut to the ISS’s science capabilities.
If you are a US citizen and agree with these appropriations, consider contacting your congressmen to encourage their support of this bill.
Original News Source: Yahoo News
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.