- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
October 05, 2007The Senate took a vital step toward maintaining the U.S. position as the world's leader in space exploration when it passed an amendment infusing NASA with an additional $1 billion, AIA President and CEO John Douglass said Friday. The bipartisan NASA Restoration Amendment provides a one-time emergency reimbursement to the space agency to compensate the agency for unanticipated costs related to the Colombia tragedy in 2003 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "This provision will help the United States maintain its global leadership in space by keeping exploration programs on track while providing critical resources to aeronautics research as well as space and Earth science initiatives," Douglass said. The amendment to the Senate fiscal 2008 Commerce, Justice, State and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill passed on Thursday. It was sponsored and championed by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). The funding addresses unexpected costs NASA incurred in space shuttle modifications after the Columbia disaster. The money also compensates the agency for repairs to facilities on the Gulf Coast that suffered hurricane damage. It was important to secure additional funding for NASA to ensure long-term viability of the U.S. space program, Douglass said. The program is at a critical time as it continues the safe fly-out of the shuttle program and begins the early stages of the Constellation Program, which will return astronauts to the moon and continue exploration to Mars and beyond.