U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), who serves as Ranking Member on the Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee, spoke on passage of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016 at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee markup today. The bipartisan bill will provide certainty for to NASA and its major programs through the upcoming administration transition and will advance deep space exploration. Below is the text of his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to thank you for holding this markup to consider the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016.

“The NASA Transition Act will give NASA the stability needed to keep NASA’s important missions in science, aeronautics, technology, exploration, and education moving through 2017. And that’s not just important to the agency – it’s something that’s particularly important to the thousands of small businesses across the country, including in my home state of Michigan, where dedicated men and women are working hard to move our space program forward.

“Two weeks ago, I visited Kennedy Space Center for the launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft and got to see the progress being made on the SLS rocket and Orion crew capsule. I also saw amazing work by Boeing, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance on their rockets and spacecraft. Today we’re closer to human missions to deep space than we have been since we last left the moon nearly 45 years ago. We are going boldly to Mars, and we are going to stay, and this legislation makes that point very clear.

“This legislation also reaffirms that NASA is a multi-mission agency, with important missions in science, space technology, aeronautics, exploration, and education. I certainly agree with my colleagues who would like to see increased funding for some of these areas, and I am committed to working to address these programs more comprehensively in future legislation. 

“It is also my hope that we can move forward and pass the Space Weather bill that Senator Gardner and I worked on and that this committee advanced several months ago. I think the space weather bill together with this NASA bill represent a strong and positive bipartisan consensus for our space program and national preparedness. 

“I am also pleased this bipartisan bill reinforces the importance of NASA’s ongoing efforts to educate the scientists, engineers, and astronauts of the future.

“I want to thank Senator Cruz, Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, Senator Wicker, Senator Rubio, Senator Udall, and Senator Cantwell for their hard work on this legislation, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that NASA has a steady path forward to keep making groundbreaking discoveries and inspiring Americans for years to come.”