Obama Signs NASA Authorization Act
[Satellite TODAY 10-13-10] U.S. President Barack Obama signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, which adds a third and final space shuttle flight in June, extends space station operations to 2020 and provides increased federal funding for commercial space transport alternatives.
The bill, originally drafted by the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee authorizes appropriations for NASA’s 2011, 2012 and 2013 fiscal years largely in line with President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget request announced earlier this year, which called for more investments in U.S. commercial space companies.
The bill requires NASA to develop portfolio that includes aeronautics, Earth and space science, and education, covering investments in technology and robotic capabilities. The bill also includes a sustainable exploration program with new technologies and in-space capabilities; building future exploration off the workforce, assets and capabilities of the space shuttle and other efforts.
The legislation reverses former President George W. Bush’s NASA initiative, which focused on a return to the moon. Instead, the bill hastens development of a NASA deep-space exploratory craft to reach an asteroid by 2025 and orbit Mars a decade later.
“We have risen above a lot of partisan politics. This is government at its finest,” NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said in a statement.