WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today applauded the inclusion of the Aeronautics Innovation Act – legislation he introduced to help boost aeronautics industry innovation, research and development – in the NASA Authorization Act that was approved today by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. The NASA funding bill, led by Commerce Committee leaders Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), would provide the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) the clear direction needed to advance the nation’s space initiatives and investments and assert the United States’ global leadership in the final frontier.
“If we want to lead the way in aeronautics innovation, we have to make decisive investments in long-term research and development,” said Sen. Warner. “I applaud my colleagues on the Commerce Committee for including key provisions of my Aeronautics Innovation Act into this year’s NASA funding bill and for their work in getting this through the committee. These provisions will help secure our nation’s standing as the leader in cutting-edge aeronautics innovation and technology.”
Earlier this year, Sens. Warner and Jerry Moran (R-KS), co-chairs of the Senate Aerospace Caucus, reintroduced the Aeronautics Innovation Act to provide a five-year funding commitment to advance innovation and supplement research in the aeronautics industry.
In 2017, the U.S. aerospace and defense industry produced approximately 2.4 million jobs and generated $865 billion in economic output. However, without the proper strategy and investment, the U.S. risks falling behind other industrialized nations in developing and advancing the next generation of aircraft. Forecasts estimate that the world’s demand for passenger aircraft fleet above 100 seats will double over the next 20 years, generating between 35,000 and 40,000 new plane orders, which will be worth more than $5 trillion by 2035.
In addition to advancing aeronautics industry innovation, research and development, the NASA Authorization Act of 2019 would:
- Authorize NASA to reimburse the Town of Chincoteague for the purchase and installation of new production wells to replace contaminated wells located on NASA Wallops Flight Facility property.
- Support NASA’s human spaceflight and exploration efforts to return American astronauts to the Moon and prepare for future journeys to Mars.
- Extend authorization for the International Space Station through 2030 and direct NASA to take steps to grow the “space economy.”
- Require the United States to maintain a continuous human presence in low-Earth orbit through and beyond the useful life of the International Space Station (ISS).
- Support NASA’s leadership in coordinating the development of next generation spacesuits.
- Leverage private sector investment to bolster human space exploration.
- Authorize NASA's Enhanced Use Leasing (EUL) authority. EUL allows companies to lease vacant or underutilized buildings owned by NASA with lease proceeds helping to fund capital improvements at the NASA centers.
- Provide rapid acquisition authorities similar to those that have proven successful at the Department of Defense and other agencies.
- Direct NASA to maintain and upgrade irreplaceable rocket launch and test infrastructure.
- Support vital life and physical science research to ensure that humans can live in deep space safely.
- Direct NASA to improve upon its planetary defense measures in order to protect Earth from asteroids and other near-Earth objects.
- Affirm NASA’s commitment to aeronautics research by supporting a robust X-plane program as well as work on efficient propulsion concepts and advanced composites.
- Support NASA’s STEM education and workforce efforts.
Last week, the President signed into law a bill introduced by Sens. Warner and Tim Kaine (D-VA) to award the Congressional Gold Medical to four African-American women scientists for their work at NASA Langley.