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Sen. Cruz Introduces NASA Authorization Act of 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) this week introduced the NASA Authorization Act of 2018. This bipartisan legislation is the product of a series of hearings and establishes a legislative marker to build upon in the 116th Congress. The legislation supports an overall budget of $21.545 billion for fiscal year 2019 which would sustain NASA and ensure continued progress for our nation’s existing national space initiatives and investments. This is crucial as we look to advance space exploration and assert the United States’ leadership in the final frontier. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass) are co-sponsors.

As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, Sen. Cruz has been a strong advocate for fortifying the United States’ leadership in space. He led a series of hearings leading to the introduction of the NASA Authorization Act of 2018, which focused on topics including: America’s future exploration of Mars, support for scientific missions in the search for life beyond Earth, and the future of America’s ability to maintain its leadership in space.

“For decades the United States has been a leader on the global stage and advanced exploration by pushing humans further than they’ve ever gone before,” Sen. Cruz said. “I am proud of this bipartisan legislation, and firmly believe that we are in a strong position to continue to build upon this bill in the 116th Congress to create an opportunity for a new generation of Americans to witness a new chapter in history: American boots stepping foot on the surface of Mars. Additionally, this bill will provide new commercialization opportunities in low-Earth orbit which will help a private sector commercial space flourish. Most importantly, this bill maximizes the return of American taxpayers’ dollars that have been invested towards the operation and utilization of the International Space Station.”

The full bill text may be viewed here. Highlights of the NASA Authorization Act of 2018 include:

  • Extends operation and utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) through 2030.
  • Establishes U.S. policy to encourage the development of a healthy and robust U.S. commercial sector in low-Earth orbit, and authorizes a low-Earth orbit commercialization program that will encourage the fullest commercial use and development of space by American private sector companies.
  • Supports the development a next-generation advanced space suit.
  • Authorizes the establishment of a lunar discovery program which will use commercial lunar landers.
  • Reaffirms Congress’ support for NASA’s scientific objective to ‘Search for Life in the Universe’ and directs the Administrator to continue to implement a collaborative, multidisciplinary science and technology development program to search for proof of the existence or historical existence of life beyond Earth.
  • Enhances NASA’s cybersecurity by requiring the Administrator to update and improve, as necessary, the cybersecurity of space assets and supporting infrastructure within the Administrator’s domain, and implement priority recommendations of the Comptroller General of the United States pertaining to information security controls over select high-impact systems.