A long list of established NASA contractors, entrepreneurial space upstarts, academics and state development agencies went to bat for the agency’s Space Technology Program, signing a Sept. 8 petition asking House and Senate appropriators to provide at least half of the $1 billion NASA requested for the program for 2012.

“We urge you to support the program at a level of at least $535 million plus costs to cover the NASA labor transition,” the 45 entities said in a Sept. 8 letter addressed to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations panels responsible for drafting annual NASA spending bills.

The petition comes  as the Senate Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee prepares to mark up its version of the 2012 NASA spending bill on Sept. 15.

The House Appropriations Committee included $375 million for the Space Technology program in the NASA spending bill it approved in July. That bill, which still awaits approval by the full House, would also cut NASA’s overall budget back to $16.8 billion — 10 percent below the agency’s 2011 budget — and cancel the James Webb Space Telescope.