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Public Statements

Hearing of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee - NASA Human Spaceflight Past, Present, and Future: Where Do We Go From Here?

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding today's hearing to receive testimony on the past, present, and future
of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) human spaceflight programs.

I would like to personally thank Commander Armstrong and Captain Cernan for their defining
contributions to the U.S. space program, human spaceflight, and to this nation. The risks taken and
rewards gained from Apollo stand as a testament to the power of human spaceflight to inspire our nation.

Sixteen months ago, this Committee held a similar hearing with Mr. Armstrong and Capt. Cernan. At that
time Congresswoman Giffords, Chairwoman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, voiced
concern about the viability of the Administration's proposal and the need for budgets that matched the
tasks to be undertaken. In her words, you can't do meaningful exploration "on the cheap." She
emphasized the need to keep safety paramount while ensuring that the U.S. not cede its leadership in
space and retain an inspiring vision for exploration. Much has changed since that hearing.

The 2010 Authorization Law directed NASA to develop a new government-owned Space Launch System
(SLS) and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) to explore space beyond low-earth orbit (LEO); provide
back-up capability to deliver crew and cargo to the International Space Station (ISS); and preserve the
critical skills of our aerospace workforce.

Just over a week ago, NASA announced its final decision for the design of the SLS, and I am pleased that
the decision has been made so that we can move forward. Congress needs to examine how the program
will be implemented, including the objectives and destinations for human exploration beyond low-Earth
orbit.

The inspirational value of human space exploration cannot be underestimated. I am interested in hearing
about the potential objectives and destinations for human space exploration that would best maximize the
use of the MPCV and SLS while continuing to inspire our nation.

I welcome our panel of witnesses and look forward to your testimonies. Thank you and I yield back the
balance of my time.


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