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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

House Takes Steps to Preserve Ares Rocket and Manned Space Flight

July 20, 2010
Press Release
A stalwart of NASA's manned space program and the Ares 1 rocket, Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) today announced that the House version of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 officially includes language calling for the preservation of the Ares 1 rocket and the Orion space capsule.  The draft legislative language, backed by Bishop, was released today by the House Committee on Science and Technology.  If passed, the bill would help preserve thousands of jobs as well as key components of America's missile defense capabilities.

The exact language citing the Ares rocket can be found here on page 6.
 
"It is extremely encouraging that both the House and Senate, in a bipartisan manner, have recognized the importance of maintaining solid rocket motor technologies, such as the Ares 1 rocket.  The draft House version of this bill is a strong repudiation of the President's flawed proposal – stronger even than the good developments we saw last week out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

"Building on the momentum generated by the recent Senate proposal, the House version takes a further step toward preserving the Ares 1 rocket and the future of manned space flight, but we still have a ways to go and legislative hurdles to cross.  I will continue to work with my House colleagues to ensure that the final version reconciled in the conference committee includes all components necessary to maintain superior national defense capabilities and the future of manned space flight," said Congressman Bishop.
 
Specifically, the House NASA Authorization Act:

• Unlike the Senate legislation, reaffirms the U.S. Manned Spaceflight program and specifically mentions that both the Orion space capsule and the Ares 1 rocket should be preserved. (pg. 6)

• States that NASA will be required to develop the capability to provide low earth orbit (LEO) access, such as to the International Space Station, by no later than December 31, 2015. This represents a reaffirmation of Orion and Ares, since no private sector competitor to the Orion space capsule and Ares 1 rocket is currently capable of safe, human-rated flight.  (pg. 25)        
 
• Ensures that key milestones of the original Constellation plan are maintained, including requiring NASA to have the separate heavy-lift capability "by the end of the decade" to be able to demonstrate ability to reach "challenging destinations" in space, including Lagrangian points, the Moon, near-Earth objects, as well as Mars and its moons. (pg. 27)

• States that NASA "shall take maximum benefit from the prior investments made in Orion and Ares 1 rocket…" (pg. 28)

• Takes approximately $850 million/year out of the new Obama science initiatives and puts that money into the Human Space Exploration Accounts.

• Leaves $50 million a year for commercial crew efforts and institutes a new $100 million business loan program for commercial crew manufacturers that can meet certain minimum standards of technical and scientific capability.  The loans would have to be repaid, but provides a source of capital upon which to develop private space capabilities for commercial gain. 

• Addresses the termination liability issue by pointing out how the current NASA regime is inconsistent with past NASA practices on contract termination liability. (pg. 9)

The Science Committee intends to meet this Thursday, July 22nd at 10:00 AM to consider this legislation.