NASA Takes Flight (Sort of) with Reauthorization

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President Barack Obama signed a $54.8 billion NASA reauthorization bill Oct. 11, but the rest of the funding for the agency has yet to come through.

And Aviation Week reports there may be difficulty in mustering the votes for the additional funding, as the recently signed bill was already seen as a compromise between advocates of NASA and those who had wanted to turn the space agency over to the private sector.

Other possible opponents of the NASA funding are Republicans set on reducing the federal deficit, said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), a supporter of NASA.

The law Obama signed includes an extension on the International Space Station until at least 2020 and $11.5 billion for a new rocket program.

The new rocket program will use resources and contractors from projects already in existence. Nelson said that was likely a sign of economic reality.

“If we can’t develop a new rocket for $11.5 billion, building on a lot of the technologies that were already developed in spending $9 billion … then we ought to question whether we can build a rocket,” Nelson said, according to Aviation Week. “We are in fiscally austere times, and we have to be realistic.”

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