Press Release

Kosmas Successful in Fight for Additional Shuttle Mission

By SpaceRef Editor
July 22, 2010
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Kosmas Successful in Fight for Additional Shuttle Mission

Amends House NASA Bill to Extend Shuttle Program through Mid-2011, Help Ease Transition for the Space Coast

(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), during a meeting of the House Science & Technology Committee, successfully amended the House NASA Reauthorization Bill to add an additional Shuttle mission to the current manifest, minimizing the spaceflight gap by extending the life of the Shuttle program through at least June of 2011. Kosmas’ action will help ease the transition for the Space Coast and slow the loss of jobs in order to protect the highly skilled workforce.

Kosmas’ amendment comes a day after the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science approved funding for the additional flight, which is currently designated as “launch on need” only. With support now from both the House and Senate, the additional Shuttle launch is likely to move forward.

“Providing for an additional Shuttle flight is a major success in our fight to minimize the human spaceflight gap and preserve our highly skilled workforce on the Space Coast,” said Suzanne Kosmas. “This extension of the Shuttle program will help protect jobs while giving us more time to diversify our economy and provide new opportunities for Space Coast workers.”

Last year, Kosmas took action to eliminate the hard deadline for Shuttle retirement and provide funding in the budget for 2011, which has allowed the program to be extended. Kosmas also added a measure today to the House NASA Reauthorization bill to determine what parts will be required to meet the needs of the five year extension of the International Space Station and if those parts can only be delivered through additional Shuttle missions.

During the committee meeting, Kosmas fought for additional changes to the House NASA bill that would bring the legislation more in line with a bipartisan proposal (HR 4804) offered by Kosmas and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), but committee members did not adopt her amendments to increase funding for technology demonstration and commercial crew development. Much of what was proposed by Kosmas and Hutchison was included in the Senate’s NASA Reauthorization bill, authored by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), which passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation last week.

“While the Senate compromise comes much closer to the goals outlined in our bipartisan plan for NASA and strikes a better balance in terms of continuing the development of a NASA-led vehicle while supporting the growth of the commercial spaceflight industry, it was important to move the process forward in the House today,” said Kosmas. “What matters most at this point is quickly signing into law a NASA bill that protects our workforce, minimizes the gap, and maintains America’s global leadership in space exploration. I will continue working with Sen. Nelson, Sen. Hutchison and my colleagues in both houses to work out the differences and finalize a plan that keeps NASA strong and ensures a bright future for the Space Coast.”

The NASA reauthorization process is expected to continue into the fall.

SpaceRef staff editor.