Florida Senator Bill Nelson

Nelson, Hutchison Want Plan for Permanent Human Settlement Beyond LEO

Posted by Doug Messier on December 19, 2012, at 6:40

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) have introduced legislation that would give NASA the long-term goal of creating a permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit space and the responsibility of submitting a plan to do so next year.

The bill is being opposed by NASA’s largest federal employee union, the International Federation of Professional Engineers (IFPTE). In a letter to Senators, the union says the measure is “a flawed and unbalanced effort to improperly prioritize a few outsourced and offshored activities, while neglecting NASA’s internal core capabilities and other critical needs.”

Senate Bill No. 3661 would amend NASA’s 2010 authorization act to include the following:

“Long-Term Goal.–The long-term goal of the human space flight and exploration efforts of NASA shall be to sustainably expand permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and to do so, where practical, in a manner involving international partners and expanding economic activity in space.”

The legislation would require NASA to submit a strategy for achieving that long-term goal within 120 days after the measure is enacted. NASA would need to examine cooperation with and contributions from international partners as well as commercial companies. The bill also directs NASA to look at opportunities for “commercial ventures that result from an expanded and persistent human presence in cis-lunar space.”

Read more: Nelson, Hutchison Want Plan for Permanent Human Settlement Beyond LEO | Parabolic Arc.

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