The following was sent to key Congressional leaders.
Washington, DC (June 18, 2014)
Attention Members House/Senate Conference Committee:
National Space Society Urges House/Senate Conference to Fully Support Commercial Crew
The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) has been a consistent supporter of NASA’s Commercial Crew program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
* While not at the President’s request level, NSS is pleased to see a strong financial commitment to the commercial crew program. Adequate funding is required to rapidly end US reliance on Russia for astronaut transport to the International Space Station. We urge the Congress to adopt the Senate’s higher level ($805 million) as the bills move through the process.
* Competition between multiple commercial crew suppliers in the operational service is an essential element of the program and is critical to maintaining the highest level of safety, staying on schedule, and maximizing cost efficiencies.
* The next round of commercial crew development is progressing according to Congressional direction – through FAR-based firm fixed-price competitive contracts – and the process underway should not be altered or slowed down at this time.
* The country needs to rapidly develop domestic Astronaut transportation capabilities and NASA’s current approach, coupled with appropriate funding, puts America on that path.
* NSS also endorses the recent decision by the Obama administration to extend the life of the ISS by four years to 2024. NASA should take additional steps to further extend both the life and the capabilities of the ISS, including using commercial crew vehicles to support a larger ISS crew, creating greater science, technology and commercial output.