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President Signs NASA Bill

by Susan R. Morrissey
October 27, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 43

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

President George W. Bush signed a bill on Oct. 15 to reauthorize NASA for 2009. The bipartisan bill provides $20.9 billion for NASA programs for fiscal 2009 and underscores Congress’ support of the President’s space policy. Included in the authorized funding levels are $1 billion to accelerate development of human crew vehicles to replace the space shuttle and an 11% increase for science programs for 2009. “The major provisions of this authorization bill affirm Congress’ support for the broad goals of the President’s space exploration policy, including the return of American astronauts to the moon, exploration of Mars, and other destinations,” NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in a statement. In addition to setting program funding levels, the bill includes language prohibiting NASA from taking any steps until April 30, 2009, that would preclude space shuttle missions after 2010—the year the shuttle is set to retire. The language was inserted to give the next president time to consider the future of the program and not as a sign of congressional consent for continued shuttle missions, according to House Science & Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.).


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