- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
September 29, 2008The NASA Authorization Act of 2008, which cleared Congress on Saturday, provides much needed funding for space programs and aeronautics research and development and gives the next administration a clear sense of congressional support for the future of the agency, AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said. Congressional approval of the final version of the bill paves the way for the President's signature shortly before adjournment for the election season. Provisions include $20.2 billion for the agency, with an additional $1 billion dedicated to accelerated development of the Orion spacecraft and Ares 1 launch vehicle. The bill also authorizes $853.4 million for aeronautics, which is $208.4 million over last year's appropriated level. "Congress is sending a clear signal to the next President with this bill that the country is serious about the importance of developing the NextGen air transportation system and in maintaining our leadership in space," Blakey said. NASA's NextGen-related research will help increase the safety, security and capacity of air transportation operations while protecting the environment. NextGen improvements will be implemented over the next 10 years. The additional funding for the Orion and Ares I is critical to reducing the impending five-year gap in our ability to travel to space when the space shuttle retires in 2010. "Congress understands the implications of failing to maintain U.S. access to space and its impact on our ability to remain on the cutting edge -- an impact that is at the heart of our global economic and technological leadership," Blakey said.