On Tuesday, Trump signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Transition Authorization Act of 2017 giving more budget and resources to reach new heights in space exploration. The bill will authorize $19.5 billion in funding for the agency who has been neglected for the last 7 years.
Trump hopes to help NASA with their goal of reaching Mars by 2030. With their new budget, NASA now has the ability to start pursuing this goal once again. It’s good to be reminded that NASA is the reason we have such things like Velcro, LED’s, Artificial limbs, firefighting gear, and much more. Enabling the agency to continue its growth helps America grow.
The signing went so well that NASA released a statement about the signing:
“We would like to thank President Trump for his support of the agency in signing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017.”
“We also want to express our gratitude to a bipartisan Congress for its thoughtful consideration of the agency’s path forward. We are grateful for the longstanding support and trust of the American people, which enables our nation’s space, aeronautics, science, and technology development programs to thrive.”
“Our workforce has proven time and again that it can meet any challenge, and the continuing support for NASA ensures our nation’s space program will remain the world’s leader in pioneering new frontiers in exploration, innovation, and scientific achievement.”
The bill covered several things that I want to recap below:
Health Care for Life
One part of the bill was The TREAT Astronauts Act. The act will mandate that NASA covers all expenses for monitoring, diagnosing, and treatment of all past astronauts. It’s unfortunate that many health issues can result from space travel, but at least now all medical expenses will be covered for them (for all space-related issues).
Relaunching of the National Space Council
Vice President Pence will be heading up the council’s redesign. The council’s main purpose is to communicate between the White House and NASA. According to Washington Post, Mr. Pace who served on the council during Bush’s term, said this about the council:
“[The council will] address issues that cut across multiple federal agencies: for example, questions about cooperation on the International Space Station (ISS) that would involve both NASA and the State Department.”
Death of Asteroid Redirect Mission
Again, the main focus of NASA is to get to Mars by 2033. This has led Congress to find a new idea for the Asteroid Redirect Mission known as ARM. ARM was supposed to be a sort of stepping stone for man to get to Mars, but with the budget being so small, they decided to cut the program. With this program eradicated, NASA now needs to find another ‘pit-stop’ for the journey to mars. It’s assumed the agency will use the moon as that stepping stone.
Commercial Flights to the ISS
According to Washington Post, the bill mandates that NASA can’t do the following:
“The authorization bill mandates that NASA can’t acquire space flight services from a foreign entity unless there are no NASA vehicles or U.S. commercial providers available. It also directs the space agency to look into ways to boost the private space industry.”
During the signing, Trump asked Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio if they would be willing to go to space. Both said they did not. But Cruz replied, “You could send Congress to space,” forgetting that he was a part of Congress. Trump thought that idea was brilliant, but he did say he had no interest to go into space.
Credit: Washington Post