Press Release

NASA Appropriator Visits Space Program Entrepreneurs and GEAR UP Students Highlighting Federal Investment in Nation’s Future

By SpaceRef Editor
August 3, 2012
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On the heels of a major announcement from NASA, Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies – which includes NASA – will make site visits to several companies selected to design the next generation of spacecraft carrying astronauts from U.S. soil into deep space.

NASA will provide $440 million to SpaceX and $460 million to Boeing to develop within the next five years spacecraft – designed by Americans to carry Americans into outer space. The new spacecraft will end the outsourcing of human spaceflight with the added bonus of creating high paying American jobs.

Fattah will witness America’s technological leadership into space at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He’ll be on hand to see the landing of NASA’s Curiosity Rover on Mars. Curiosity left Earth in November and is scheduled to land on the red plant late Sunday evening.

Fattah will visit Northrop Grumman’s Space Park in Redondo Beach, California to be briefed on the latest developments of the James Webb Space Telescope. The telescope – targeted for launch in 2018 – will find the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Fattah will spend time at the Space X headquarters in Hawthorne, California and Boeing headquarters in Everett, Washington for detailed information on the combined $900 million in grants the companies received to develop spacecraft that will carry American astronauts into space. At Boeing, Fattah will get a firsthand look at the company’s 787 Dreamliner, the world’s first major aircraft to use composite materials for most of its construction.

In addition to visiting the space program and manufacturers, Congressman Fattah will meet with students who could be part of the next generation of space scientists and space travelers. Fattah, creator of the country’s most successful early college awareness and preparation program – Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) — will meet with GEAR UP students in Seattle, Washington. The meeting provides a rare opportunity for the students to visit with the person who – through GEAR UP – is providing real opportunity for their future.

“I’ve been coast to coast and border to border to raise the profile for this much needed program that improves the life chances and nurtures the dreams of students from low income and under-served backgrounds,” Fattah said. “I’ve had the opportunity to talk with GEAR UP kids in Oregon and Idaho and look forward to spending quality time with the students in Seattle. There is nothing as fulfilling as meeting bright young people and telling them yes, you can compete, yes, you can succeed, and if you work hard you will attain a college education with all its rewards and challenges.”

GEAR UP has served 12 million students across the country who have received the necessary tools to equip and prepare them for a college education.

SpaceRef staff editor.