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Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Extend NASA Authorities

A bipartisan group of senators have introduced legislation seeking to extend the authorization of the International Space Station, foster NASA partnerships with industry and drive efforts in the U.S. space industry.

The office of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Wednesday that the senator, along with Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., introduced the NASA Authorization Act of 2019 which builds on prior legislation Cruz introduced in 2018.

Under the NASA Authorization Act, the ISS would continue authorized operations through 2030 to support the growth of the space economy as well as NASA’s efforts to sustain human presence in low-Earth orbit.

The legislation would also mandate NASA to implement rapid acquisition authorities, modernize launch and test capabilities, support training efforts and accelerate research into areas such as next-generation spacesuits, space safety and defense.

In addition, NASA would be required to authorize Enhanced Use Leasing authorities which would allow companies to lease inactive NASA-owned facilities to fund other improvement efforts.

Cruz is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space while Sinema serves as a ranking member. Wicker serves as chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where Cantwell is ranking member.

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