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Senate Approves 2017 NASA Authorization Bill

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The Senate on Friday unanimously approved a new NASA authorization bill that would require the agency to study the feasibility of sending astronauts to the International Space Station aboard the Orion spacecraft, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.

Jeff Foust writes the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 directs the space agency to submit a report that will determine whether Orion could perform crewed ISS missions if the spacecraft is launched on a vehicle other than the Space Launch System.

NASA will provide the report within 60 days and include assessments on the cost and schedule impacts of such ISS missions to the Orion program, Foust reported.

The House could vote on the legislation when it returns from recess on Feb. 27, the report stated.

The bill will also require NASA to publicly disclose existing Space Act Agreements and submit annual reports to Congress on the agreements.

NASA would establish policy on the lease, transfer or demolition of excess infrastructure at the agency’s centers under the legislation.

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