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Senate bill calls for expansion of space station

WASHINGTON – A bill introduced by two bipartite senators on Feb. 27 would allow an expansion of the International Space Station until 2030 and would also make human settlement permanent space a national goal.

Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) Presented the Advancing Human Spaceflight Act of February 27, which contains a central arrangement allowing an extension of ISS operations from 2024 to 2030.

Last year, other members of Congress requested such an extension in response to a NASA budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 to terminate direct federal funding for the station in 2025, as part of a an effort to commercialize operations in low Earth orbit. The Space Frontier Act, presented last summer by detectives Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Foresaw a similar expansion of ISS operations until 2030.

The Space Frontier Act was passed by the Senate unanimously in December, but died in the House after failing to obtain the required two-thirds majority by suspending the rules, a House mechanism allowing 39, rapid adoption of bills deemed non-controversial. The opposition in the House, however, was based on other provisions of the bill dealing with the reform of the regulation of the commercial space and not on the extension of the ISS.

Cruz said in a January speech that he would seek to reintroduce the Space Frontier Act. This bill or a separate NASA authorization bill that he plans to include would likely include the ISS expansion language, he said.

Other sections of the 12-page Manned Space Flight Act contain reporting requirements for a strategy resulting from the transition from the ISS to the development of other manned space installations in Earth orbit. or beyond, and survival systems. It also orders NASA to establish an advanced space suit program at the Johnson Space Center.

The most prospective part of the bill might amend the Aeronautics and Space Act to make the settlement of the human space a national goal, inserting language stating that "the regulation human space and a prosperous space economy will enhance the overall well-being of the United States. "

In the draft law, the term "human settlement" is defined as "a community in space or on a celestial body in which human beings live permanently and engage in a personal and commercial activity conducive to growth in time, in order to become a sustainable economic activity. biologically and biologically autonomous as part of a larger network of human settlements. "

"The only way to continue to learn more about the world around us is to aim high and make big dreams," Cornyn said in a statement. He added in his statement that the bill had been drafted with "contributions from the Houston space community".

"This bipartite legislation would ensure that both NASA military and military personnel can continue their advanced research and exploration missions, and I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions that will guide the next era of research and development. innovation, "said Peters, former member of the statement, the subcommittee of the Committee on Trade on Space Affairs of the Senate.

This bill is not the first time that Cornyn, who is generally not as spatially active as Cruz, his colleague from Texas, presents a large-scale bill on space. In January 2017, he introduced the Exploration Strategy Mapping Act (MANIFEST) for manned flights. This bill and the complementary laws presented to the House by the representative of the time. John Culberson (R-Texas) called for the development of a strategic plan for missions leading to a human mission on Mars.

"By demanding a strategic plan from NASA, this bill will help direct existing resources towards the achievement of our long-term goal of bringing a human to Mars," said Cornyn in the statement on the MANIFEST for Human Spaceflight Act of 2017. This bill did advance to the House or Senate after its introduction in 2017, and the new law on the promotion of manned space flights made no mention of Mars.

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