Late last week, Democrats on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology elected Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to serve as Chair of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics for the 117th Congress.


“I am humbled and honored to have been selected as the Chairman for the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee,” said Beyer. “Over the last year, we witnessed some of the most impactful moments for U.S. space exploration in decades. As someone who has long supported NASA’s important work on earth sciences, I am also excited to advance a climate-driven agenda, working hand in hand with NASA’s new climate advisor and advancing research into cleaner modes of flight. I am eager to boldly go forward with this important work with my colleagues in the 117th Congress for an ambitious space and aeronautics agenda.”   


Beyer has served on the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee since taking office in 2015, where he has been a longtime advocate for NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Beyer serves as co-Chair of the Congressional Safe Climate Caucus, and was a vocal defender of NASA’s Earth Science Division following attacks by Science Committee Republicans early in the Trump Administration. Beyer also led the effort to protect funding for the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), now named the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, in the face of proposed defunding by the Trump Administration, an effort which ultimately succeeded.


Beyer is the author of the Cleaner, Quieter Airplanes Act, legislation that would bolster NASA’s efforts to reduce emissions from the aviation industry while also reducing the impact of airplane noise in airport-adjacent communities. He loves nerding out on science and space policy, and has long supported missions to return to the moon and subsequently land Americans on Mars. He is a proponent of increasing representation of women and people of color in the space program, and once arranged a special screening of the film Hidden Figures for members of his community.


Beyer is also an unabashed science fiction enthusiast.

Other Members of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee include Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Charlie Crist (D-FL), and Donald Norcross (D-NJ).