Sinema Secures Full Funding for University of Arizona NASA Mission, Creating Jobs and Boosting Earth’s Protections from Dangerous Asteroids and Comets

Mar 11, 2022

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema secured the full $143.2 million for the University of Arizona’s Near Earth Object Surveyor Mission – a telescope designed to help advance NASA’s planetary defense efforts to discover and characterize most of the potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit. This mission will boost our planetary defense, while expanding innovation, and creating jobs.
“We secured full funding for University of Arizona’s Near Earth Object Surveyor Mission, protecting our planet from dangerous asteroids and comets, boosting Arizona’s space innovation, giving Arizona students an opportunity to engage on a NASA mission, and helping create good paying jobs,” said Sinema. 
“NEO Surveyor is a key component of our planetary defense arsenal. It will map the contents of our solar system to give us situational awareness of near-earth asteroids or comets that could wreak havoc on our planet. NEO Surveyor will allow us to identify and characterize these objects well in advance of any potential impact. The University of Arizona is proud to have a leadership role in this mission through Dr. Amy Mainzer, and we are pleased to see the continued investment in the NEO Surveyor mission and congressional commitment to a 2026 launch date. We thank Senator Sinema for her ongoing efforts regarding this critical mission.” said Dr. Robert Robbins, President of the University of Arizona.

Today’s funding for the University of Arizona’s Near Earth Objects Surveyor Mission comes as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 government funding bill – legislation Sinema helped shape and voted to pass.
As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sinema led the bipartisan National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act with Republican Senator Ted Cruz (Texas), Commerce Committee Chairman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS). The Senators’ bill includes a number of Arizona space priorities including support for the University of Arizona’s Near Earth Objects Surveyor Mission.