Sinema Introduces NASA Bill, Secures Arizona Priorities

Nov 6, 2019

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Ted Cruz (TX) introduced the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2019 with Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA). The Senators’ bill includes a number of Arizona space priorities including support for University of Arizona’s NEOCam mission and the Mars 2020 mission, which will include Arizona State University’s Master-Z Camera.

“By investing in American’s leadership in space, our bipartisan bill strengthens our national security and creates economic opportunities for Arizonans,” said Sinema.

While finalizing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2019, Sinema met with Arizona stakeholders, including ASU and University of Arizona, to ensure Arizona priorities were secured in the bill.

Following Sinema’s work, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2019 includes the following priorities:

  • Reaffirms NASA’s ability to establish University Affiliated Research Centers, which are 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
  • Establishes the Planetary Defense Coordination Office and requires that office to fund the construction of University of Arizona’s Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam)
  • 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 Mars 2020 mission and begin work on the Mars Sample Return Mission. The main camera used for navigation on the Mars 2020 rover, the Master-Z Camera, was designed and constructed by an ASU team
  • Requires NASA to provide funding for the launch of small satellites conducting science missions, developed by ASU, University of Arizona, and NAU