House Passes Astronaut Memento Ownership Bill

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The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill to confirm the ownership rights of Apollo-era astronauts to any artifacts received from their space missions.

The two-page bill, H.R. 4158, was introduced by House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) along with 33 co-sponsors.

During the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, NASA routinely allowed astronauts to keep space hardware, personal equipment and other mementos from their missions. In recent years, however, NASA has challenged the ownership of some of these artifacts.

“This bill seeks to eliminate any further ambiguity about Apollo-era artifacts that were received by the astronauts,” Hall said. “It simply says that astronauts who flew through the end of the Apollo program will be granted full ownership of any artifacts received from their missions.”

The bill must still clear the U.S. Senate before it can be sent to the president to be signed into law.