HASC Chairman Adam Smith: . “I want to make sure there’s competition.”
Key members of the House and Senate say they continue to work on space-related legislation, including a NASA authorization bill, but the two branches of Congress appear to remain far apart on their bills.
While NASA’s decision to award lunar lander development contracts to three companies won praise from a Senate committee, the leaders of the House Science Committee said they remained concerned about NASA’s approach to returning humans to the moon.
The full House Science Committee will likely take up a NASA authorization bill later this month that a key member says will incorporate some changes to the original bill, but likely retain major provisions directing NASA’s human space exploration program.
The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee expressed doubts any space-related legislation, or even spending bills, can make it through Congress this year.
The House space subcommittee approved a NASA authorization bill Jan. 29 that has attracted criticism from NASA and some in the space industry, although members said they plan to continue to refine the bill.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine expressed reservations Jan. 27 about a NASA authorization bill introduced in the House last week that he fears could constrain the agency’s approach to human space exploration.
The leadership of the House Science Committee introduced a NASA authorization bill Jan. 24 that seeks to significantly alter NASA’s current plans to return humans to the moon and make them part of an effort to send humans to Mars.
A House committee is finalizing its version of a NASA authorization bill that will cover many of the same topics as a Senate bill, but do so in different ways.
With growing bipartisan skepticism that NASA’s current plan to return humans to the moon by 2024 is achievable, members of the House Science Committee used a Nov. 13 hearing to advocate for a different, and arguably more conventional, approach.
The chairman of the Senate’s space subcommittee said Oct. 31 that his counterparts in the House seemed uninterested in working on legislation to modernize commercial space regulations.
The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA said he remains unconvinced of the need to accelerate NASA’s plans to return humans to the moon because of its uncertain cost.
Members of a House committee expressed skepticism about NASA’s reliance on commercial launch vehicles to carry out human lunar landings by 2024 rather than an upgraded version of the Space Launch System.
A House version of a stopgap spending bill does not include any special provisions for NASA, which threatens to delay work on lunar landers needed for the agency to achieve its goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024.