WASHINGTON — Human spaceflight interests will be well represented on the House Science, Space and Technology space and aeronautics subcommittee this year with nearly half of its members hailing from states with NASA manned spaceflight centers.

Lawmakers from Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas hold nine of the subcommittee’s 19 seats, including the chairmanship, held by Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.). Also included in the tally are the ex officio seats held by Texas Reps. Ralph Hall and Eddie Bernice Johnson, the full committee’s chairman and ranking Democrat, respectively.

The committee officially organized Feb. 10, approving an oversight agenda that includes NASA’s space shuttle transition plans, international space station utilization and operation, and federal climate research activities.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.),  currently recovering in a Houston hospital from a gunshot wound to the head, has kept her seat on the subcommittee, which she chaired in 2009 and 2010.

Brian Berger is editor in chief of SpaceNews.com and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined SpaceNews.com in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. His reporting on the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident was...