U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today issued the following statement praising Senate passage of an amendment he introduced urging NASA to dispose of its underutilized facilities in order to save taxpayer dollars and promote commercial space activities:
"NASA currently has underused facilities and property which are beyond their design life or outdated and costing billions of dollars to keep and maintain," said Rubio. "It is important that we maintain the excellence of NASA and our space programs, and we should start by re-allocating infrastructure that could be utilized by commercial users and state and local entities, resulting in savings for NASA and a reduction in the federal government's burden to fund space operations.
"While I couldn't support the Senate Democrat budget, I am encouraged that this amendment passed in order to save taxpayer dollars, encourage NASA to focus on its missions and deep space activities, and promote the commercial space industry."
WHAT SPACE INDUSTRY LEADERS ARE SAYING:
Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida: "Space Florida continues to pursue opportunities to both transition infrastructure from NASA programs to more commercial activities, and to develop a purely commercial space launch capability. We are grateful to Senator Rubio for his assistance in enabling NASA to more effectively dispose of underutilized facilities. This amendment is a meaningful step in growing this nation's commercial space capability."
Michael Lopez-Alegria, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation: "Many of the most difficult challenges in spaceflight development require solutions that involve a partnership between NASA, state governments and private companies. Senator Rubio's amendment, which would encourage a streamlined process for companies and local public entities to lease or obtain NASA's facilities, will strengthen the public-private partnerships that help us achieve our national goals of science, exploration, and continued leadership in space," stated Michael Lopez-Alegria. "The measure would also ensure the government gets the most bang for its buck in today's tight fiscal environment."