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Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairwoman Horn Holds Bipartisan Teleconference on NASA’s Response to COVID-19

Press Release From: House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Posted: Friday, May 8, 2020

Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a bipartisan teleconference with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Dr. Mike Watkins, Director at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The purpose of the teleconference was for Members to discuss NASA’s uniquely skilled workforce and their activities and role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally (VITAL), which was designed and developed by JPL engineers in 37 days. 

“The science, innovation, and engineering rigor that allows NASA to explore space are being used closer to home during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Chairwoman Kendra Horn (D-OK) of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. “The VITAL ventilator, specifically designed to treat patients with COVID-19, is a perfect example of the return on investment that American taxpayers are making in our space program.”

Members, along with Administrator Bridenstine and Dr. Watkins, discussed the Agency’s response to COVID-19 and innovative solutions being developed to address the impacts of the crisis, including the VITAL ventilator, a positive pressure helmet for patients experiencing minor respiratory symptoms, and a portable surface decontamination device. 

 “The engineers at NASA are a great example of the power of human ingenuity with their innovative designs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “The quick development of new technologies like the VITAL ventilator is a testament to NASA’s long history of problem solving. As our Nation continues to fight this pandemic, we must continue to invest in cutting edge research and development initiatives that protect American’s health and build our supply of life saving health equipment and strategies.”

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