Press Release

Conference Report Will Boost Aeronautics, Space Exploration

By SpaceRef Editor
November 11, 2005
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Arlington, Va. – NASA aeronautics research and development investment will increase and the nation’s Vision for Space Exploration is fully funded within the agency’s Fiscal Year 2006 budget approved by the House Wednesday.

The conference report represents a resounding congressional endorsement of the importance of NASA’s activities to the future of our country, AIA President and CEO John Douglass said.

The conference appropriations report for Science, State, Justice, and Commerce and Related Agencies takes a significant step forward in areas vital to the U.S. economy, notably by providing $912.3 million for the NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. That is $60 million more than requested by the president earlier this year and $6.1 million more than FY 2005. In addition, the report directs the president to craft a National Aeronautics Policy to be delivered within one year of enactment. House committee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Ranking Member Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) were all instrumental in securing aeronautics and space exploration investment dollars.

The $16.5 billion bill fully funds the president’s plan to return American astronauts to the moon and eventually to Mars and beyond.

“Congress has acted to preserve U.S. leadership in two vital areas – space exploration and aeronautics research and development,” Douglass said. “We look forward to working with NASA to fulfill the lofty goals of advancement in our own atmosphere and beyond.”

AIA led a coalition of concerned aerospace advocates in pushing for increased funding for aeronautics. The budget in that area fell from $1.54 billion in FY 1994 to $906.2 million in FY 2005. Allowing the research budget to continue plummeting would allow our foreign competitors to gain the technological edge in the aerospace marketplace, Douglass said. The conference report referenced this danger, saying lawmakers are “concerned about the need to maintain the nation’s leadership in science and technology.” An important part of AIA’s advocacy focused on ensuring NASA’s space and aeronautics missions were fully and appropriately funded.

SpaceRef staff editor.