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Confirming Full Ownership Rights to Artifacts from Astronauts' Space Missions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 4158, to Confirm Full Ownership Rights for Certain United States Astronauts to Artifacts from the Astronauts' Space Missions Act.

H.R. 4158 preserves the rights of astronauts who served on the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s, through the time of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Flight, to retain full and complete ownership of certain artifacts such as personal logs and flight manuals that were used in training or during their flights.

For many years, it was an accepted practice for astronauts to keep mementos of their training and flight missions.

However, confusion surrounding NASA's informal policies on artifacts have led to attempts to repossess those artifacts years later.

This has resulted in questions concerning the status of items that astronauts have had in their possession for years, if not decades, or donated to museums, universities, scholarship funds, and so forth.

I support this bill, because it clarifies that the ownership of those artifacts rests with the astronauts who served during those missions, while preserving the current policy that ownership of moon rocks and lunar material will continue to rest with the Federal Government.

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, we lost an American hero, Neil Armstrong. He and his fellow astronauts fulfilled the dreams of a grateful nation by pushing the boundaries of space.

One small way to show our gratitude is by passing this bill. I urge my colleagues to support it.

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