Status Report

AIA on Senate NASA Authorization Act of 2019 (Letter)

By SpaceRef Editor
November 13, 2019
Filed under ,

Dear Chairman Wicker, Ranking Member Cantwell, Chairman Cruz, and Ranking Member Sinema:

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the voice of the American aerospace and defense industry representing nearly 340 leading manufacturers and suppliers that support more than 2.5 million U.S. workers, is grateful for the time and energy you and your staff put into developing the bipartisan bill before you today, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2019 (S. 2800). The bill clearly demonstrates Congress’ continued commitment to U.S. innovation and achievement by funding NASA at historically high levels, ensuring American preeminence in space.

AIA supports the overall bill, though there are two areas we look forward to working on with Congress as the bill proceeds through the legislative process. Of note, AIA commends the forward leaning positions taken on:

• Authorizing the Artemis program with use of the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft, and other cis-lunar activities supported by U.S. industry and international partners;

• Extension of the International Space Station (ISS) to 2030;

• Supporting a continuous U.S. human presence in space;

• Development of the next generation of space suits;

• Aeronautics investments for the future, including subsonic and supersonic planes;

• A healthy science portfolio to include the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope and WFIRST, continued science missions leveraging small satellites, and continued suborbital research;

• Future science missions prioritized on the science consensus-based decadal survey process;

• An independent space technology mission supporting advanced propulsion and other game changing technologies;

• Commitment to the industrial base and a study of its health;

• And supporting an independent and robust STEM prop-am at NASA.

While we support the overall bill, two identified areas of concern are Section 201 and Sections 301 and 810. In Section 201, AIA encourages Congress to continue engaging NASA and the aerospace industry to ensure that authorizing language does not overly prescribe the lander procurement, including the number of maximum providers or the procurement method. With regards to Sections 301 and 801, AIA understands the intent of these sections is to support the use of the decadal process and AIA strongly supports this intent. However, industry is worried that similar language in both of these sections may open the door to unintended consequences by allowing current and subsequent presidential administrations to circumvent the decadal surveys, thereby reprioritizing NASA Science funding for shorter-term priorities. Therefore, AIA recommends that these sections be revised to reemphasize that NASA shall adhere to the decadal survey recommendations when prioritizing science missions.

Again, AIA and our member companies thank you for your leadership and look forward to seeing this bipartisan bill advance to the full U.S. Senate for consideration.


Tim McClees

Vice President of Legislative Affairs

Aerospace Industries Association

SpaceRef staff editor.