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Sen. Cruz: It Will be an American Who First Steps Foot on Mars

Delivers keynote address to the 21st Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competiveness, today delivered the keynote address to the 21st Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference. There he discussed his efforts to advance America's leadership in space and his commitment to the International Space Station. He also urged for the swift confirmation of NASA Administrator nominee, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.).

Watch Sen. Cruz’s full remarks here.

“Everyone here is here because we care about space. We love space. We are inspired by space,” Sen. Cruz said. “Texas has a long history with space exploration. From President Kennedy’s historic 1962 call at Rice University to go to the moon, to the very first word ever uttered on the surface of the moon, the name of my hometown, ‘Houston, the Eagle has landed,’ to the first private rocket launch on Matagorda Island, Texas has always been a leader in space, and I have every confidence we will continue leading space exploration.”

He also praised the advancements of the commercial space industry, including yesterday’s successful SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch.

“We’re also seeing an incredible renaissance in terms of commercial space. A decade ago, the developments we’ve seen in commercial space would’ve been hard to imagine. And yet we’re seeing commercial space industry right down to, yesterday, SpaceX’s successful Falcon Heavy test launch. Which I note - was tested in McGregor, Texas - and I have no doubt the men and women of McGregor are standing proud today at that historic launch. But the coordination between the private sector, the growing commercial space industry and NASA is something that has dramatically expanded our ability to reach to ‘infinity and beyond’ – to coin a phrase that’s never been used before.”

Sen. Cruz continued, highlighting the bipartisan passage of both the Cruz-Nelson NASA Transition Authorization Act in 2017, and the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act in 2015.

“This is a time of deep, partisan divisions in Washington on virtually every issue it seems Democrats and Republicans are at each other’s throats, and gridlock more often than not is what we see in Congress. And yet, one of the few notable exceptions that has been in space. I’ve been proud to chair the Science and Space Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. And in that tenure chairing the Space Subcommittee, we’ve passed not one, but two major pieces of legislation impacting space. In 2015, the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which was signed by President Obama. And in 2017, the NASA Reauthorization Bill, which was signed by President Trump. There are not very many issues on which signature legislation has been signed off on by Presidents Obama and Trump. Indeed, I challenge you to find much of anything other than space. It’s a testament to the bipartisan cooperation we’ve seen. […] We arrived upon two major pieces of legislation extending the International Space Station, protecting property rights in space, forging a steady foundation for the continued growth of commercial space, and setting a clear and unambiguous target of space exploration that we are going to Mars, and it will be an American who first sets his or her foot on Mars.”