Press Release

AIA: International Competition Calls For Increased NASA Funding

By SpaceRef Editor
April 2, 2009
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AIA: International Competition Calls For Increased NASA Funding
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Arlington, Va. – The way to protect U.S. leadership in space against growing international competition is stable and sufficient investment, AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey told a House appropriations subcommittee Thursday.

“Today more than 60 countries have active space programs, some of which, as we know, are extremely ambitious,” Blakey said. “Funding for NASA and the other agencies involved in space provides the backbone for the U.S. response to these international challenges.”

Testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, Blakey emphasized the importance of addressing the upcoming capability gap in U.S. manned space access during the next seven years.

“NASA will need as many resources as possible to speed the introduction of the next generation of space vehicles to reduce that gap,” Blakey said. “Dropping the funding ball for these agencies during this critical time is not an effective strategy to keep U.S. space leadership.”

Another funding priority Blakey pointed out to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittee is NOAA satellites that are vital to climate monitoring. The satellites are aging and need to be replaced to avoid gaps in service. Blakey went on to point out the importance of funding Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – STEM – educational initiatives to address the upcoming shortage in the aerospace workforce.

One of AIA’s direct contributions to STEM education is the Team America Rocketry Challenge, the world’s largest rocket contest TARC involves about 7,000 middle and high schools students each year, giving them aerospace experience as they design, hand-build and launch their rockets, Blakey said.

Blakey closed her remarks by inviting the subcommittee to attend TARC’s final flyoff May 16 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia.

Full text of Blakey’s remarks and her written testimony can be found on the AIA Web site at http://www.aia-aerospace.org/newsroom/speeches_testimony/.

SpaceRef staff editor.