Houston Delegation Behind Bipartisan Push to Refocus NASA Mission

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including two from the Houston area, are behind legislation that would refocus NASA's mission. As Ed Mayberry reports, the measure proposes that NASA return to the moon by 2022, as a stepping stone for the exploration of mars and other destinations.


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President George W. Bush directed NASA to develop a new rocket and crew transportation system to return to the moon and eventually Mars. The new administration dropped the Constellation program and the Ares rocket; although, it later included funding for a heavy-lift launch vehicle. President Obama has dismissed a moon mission, saying “We’ve been there before.” Congressman Pete Olson of Sugar Land is a co-sponsor of the “Reasserting American Leadership in Space Act.”

“What I would say to that, Ed, is I’ve been to China for about two weeks. I’m not going to tell you I know everything about China, having spent two weeks in China. And we’ve spent less than that on the moon. The Chinese see something we don’t — they’ve got a plan to be landed on the moon by 2025.” 

Olson is co-sponsoring the so-called REAL Space Act with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee. She thinks Obama will be suitably impressed when he watches Endeavour launch this Friday.

“And he will see in real color — real life — the hard work, intensity and the dedication of these heroic Americans. I think that’s going to be a good basis of dialogue with President Obama, that we don’t want to lose that momentum. I can’t imagine that what happens on Friday will not be an inspiring opportunity, and I cannot imagine that that will not be inspirational.” 

Republican Olson has teamed with Democrat Jackson-Lee repeatedly on NASA issues.

“Absolutely. I mean, if something’s important to our area or to our state, we come together like no delegation. Congresswoman Jackson-Lee and I have stood side-by-side to fight all sorts of battles over NASA, and that’s no going to change.” 

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