Panel has jurisdiction over NASA and National Science Foundation

WASHINGTON – Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) will have an expanded role in overseeing the nation’s space exploration program as chair of the Science and Space Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the 109th Congress, it was announced today.  She has been a member of the panel, which authorizes our national space, science and technology programs, for 10 years.

The Subcommittee’s chief responsibility is to oversee the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), whose mission the President recently rededicated.  “I look forward to implementing the President’s vision in the coming years,” said Sen. Hutchison.  I strongly believe in the value of the manned space program and I am committed to returning the shuttle to flight and keeping it operable until another vessel can replace it.  In addition, I am confident Johnson Space Center will continue to play a significant role in the U.S. space program.”

The Science and Space Subcommittee also has jurisdiction over non-military aeronautics and science policy, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), which funds the majority of university science research projects.  The NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education in science and engineering and provides competitive grants to nearly 2,000 institutions each year. 

“Laboratory science, research and development make our economy the world leader,” Sen. Hutchison added.  “Our national space program is a major component of maintaining that expertise.  The renewed mandate for NASA and the continued development of research partnerships with our universities will inspire the next generation of scientists.  As Chairman, I look forward to crafting strategies for our bold missions to the moon and Mars and to the creation of advanced technologies which may have applications in other fields.”