A bipartisan group in Congress want to force the administration’s hand on the lagging space program, reintroducing a bill to direct NASA to put man back on the moon.
The RE-asserting American Leadership in Space Act, or REAL Space Act, is sponsored by Reps. Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), John Culberson (R-Texas), Steve Stockman (R-Texas), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Ted Poe (R-Texas).
“It’s going to be next to impossible to maintain our preeminence in the exploration of space if we are having to hitch rides from other countries,” Bishop said. “Going back to the moon has always been an essential stepping stone for technology development for manned exploration to other parts of the galaxy. This legislation restores and clarifies NASA’s role in human space flight and sets the U.S. back on course to lead exploration of the cosmos.”
“Space is the world’s ultimate high ground, returning to the Moon and reinvigorating our human space flight program is a matter of national security,” said Jackson Lee.
Wolf noted a National Research Council committee finding last year that there was no support within NASA or from our international partners for the administration’s proposed asteroid mission, but there is a for a moon mission.
“So the U.S. can either lead that effort, or another country will step up and lead that effort in our absence — which would be very unfortunate,” said Wolf, chairman of the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee.
The bill directs NASA to plan to return to the Moon by 2022 and develop a sustained human presence there as a stepping stone for the future exploration of Mars and other destinations within our solar system. It underscores the necessity of preserving America’s independent access to space.
“The REAL Space Act clarifies NASA’s mission, something it has been lacking in recent years,” Olson said. “Human space exploration is critically important to America’s global future.”