HOUSTON – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space, today delivered remarks at the Space Center Houston’s ceremony commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the first Shuttle launch.  Shuttle Columbia launched April 12, 1981.

“This hallmark anniversary comes at a pivotal time in NASA’s history.  As we look ahead to the Shuttle completing its mission with final assembly of the space station, we will enter a new era of human spaceflight with the Crew Exploration Vehicle,” Sen. Hutchison said.  “The president’s budget request demonstrates significant support for NASA and my authorization legislation received the full support of Congress. Our nation stands united behind the Vision for Space Exploration.”

In December of 2005, President Bush signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Act of 2005, legislation authored by Sen. Hutchison. The legislation authorizes NASA for Fiscal Years 2007 and 2008, establishes a policy objective of uninterrupted U.S. spaceflight capability and requires completion of the International Space Station (ISS). 

The NASA legislation designates the U.S. segment of the ISS as a national laboratory facility.  The administrator would be required to outline operations and functions of the ISS national laboratory activities.  Sen. Hutchison has focused on the broad research benefits and capabilities of the ISS.

In addition, it includes language to ensure NASA completes a balanced science plan and requires a report to Congress every two years. The legislation also provides for the development of a National Aeronautics Research Plan to guide the course of future investments and priorities in this important area of NASA’s scientific activities.

In February of 2006, Sen. Hutchison applauded the increased funding levels for NASA recommended by President Bush in the Fiscal Year 2007 Budget request. She expressed concern that the total amount requested is less than the levels authorized by Congress for Fiscal Year 2007, but stated the proposed 3.2 percent increase in NASA’s budget over last year is an important indication of administration support for NASA and the Vision for Space Exploration.  

Sen. Hutchison Celebrates 25th Anniversary of First Shuttle Launch