WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee advanced Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s bipartisan National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act—legislation she cosponsored with Republican Senator Ted Cruz (Texas), Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS)—as part of the Endless Frontier Act.
The Senators’ bill includes a number of Arizona space priorities including Sinema’s 21st Century Space Grant Modernization Act, ensuring that Arizona’s Space Grant Consortium, made up of ASU, UofA, NAU, and Embry Riddle, receives its fair share of annual funding from NASA.
“Strengthening America’s leadership in space exploration and research boosts our national security and expands economic and educational opportunities for Arizona,” said Sinema.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act includes the following Arizona priorities:
- Reaffirms NASA’s ability to establish long term partnerships with universities to lead research on NASA projects and missions
- Provides NASA with new contract authority, allowing them to more easily partner with universities, like ASU or University of Arizona, for specific missions, which would help space programs at universities grow
- Authorizes the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC), of which ASU is a leading participant, and requires NASA to establish a process by which LSIC members can be designated as University Affiliated Research Centers or enter into other similar arrangements
- Includes Sinema’s 21st Century Space Grant Modernization Act introduced with Republican Senator Capito—the bill ensures that Arizona’s Space Grant Consortium, made up of ASU, UofA, NAU, and Embry Riddle, receive its fair share of annual funding from NASA, and provides greater flexibility for how Arizona universities can spend money from NASA.
- Establishes the Planetary Defense Coordination Office and requires that office to fund the construction of University of Arizona’s Near Earth Object Surveillance Mission
- Requires NASA to establish an outreach program to encourage high school students to pursue careers in technical education, helping grow Arizona’s space workforce
- Directs NASA to complete the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, as quickly as possible—University of Arizona constructed the telescope’s Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam)
- Authorizes NASA to complete the Perseverance mission to Mars and begin work on the Mars Sample Return Mission—the main camera used for navigation on the Perseverance rover, the Master-Z Camera, was designed and constructed by an ASU team
- Directs NASA to invest in orbital debris mitigation, hypersonics, and in-space robotic refueling, repair, and refurbishment capabilities, all of which are research priorities for ASU and UofA
- Requires NASA to provide funding for the launch of small satellites conducting science missions, developed by ASU, University of Arizona, and NAU