By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Congressman Mo Brooks (R) from Huntsville announced last week that the FY 2014-15 NASA Authorization Act had been passed by the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Congressman Brooks voted in favor of the FY 2014-15 NASA Authorization Act.
Representative Brooks said in a written statement, “Throughout the development of this authorization bill, my focus has been on ensuring that NASA receives the necessary funding and directions for vital missions, with a focus on the Space Launch System and human space exploration. The FY 2014-15 NASA Authorization Act increases funding for the Space Launch System (SLS) over the President’s proposal by approximately $100 million. While I preferred that SLS funding be higher, I am pleased with what SLS receives given the budget difficulties America faces.”
Rep. Brooks continued, “This authorization act includes an important provision on Termination Liability, which frees up an additional $125 million for SLS. This act also emphasizes that the focus of the SLS program is on developing a 130 metric ton capacity and directs NASA to report on whether a booster competition would decrease SLS costs, and if so, conduct a competition.”
Rep. Brooks said that the future of the Marshall Space Flight Center was under attack in this Congress. Rep. Brooks said, “An amendment by Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) sought to shut down the Marshall Space Flight Center and/or Stennis Space Center. My staff and I helped to ensure that there was plenty of support to defeat this amendment, and it was wisely withdrawn during the markup. The Amendment was opposed by myself, the Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Lamar Smith (TX-21), and Chairman of the Space Subcommittee Steven Palazzo (MS-04).”
Rep. Brooks concluded, “Marshall Space Flight Center is the heart of America’s space program, and it will continue to lead our nation and the world in the mission of human space exploration.”
The Marshall Space Flight Center is an important employer in North Alabama and a potential shutdown would have tremendous negative effects on Rep. Brooks’ Fifth Congressional District. NASA critics have long argued that NASA maintains too many space centers and that substantial cost savings could be realized by consolidating the space centers.
The next generation American human space launch vehicle is the Space Launch System (SLS) which is supposed to be operational within four years. SLS is the successor to the space shuttle and the Saturn V rocket.
Congressman Brooks serves as Vice-Chair of the Space Subcommittee on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.