WASHINGTON (10 March 2017) — NASA’s goal to send a manned spacecraft to Mars should get a big boost from the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017. IEEE-USA commends Congress for passing the bipartisan legislation this week.

Highlights of S. 442 include:

* Authorizes NASA to work towards long-term human space flight missions to Mars & other destinations

* Directs NASA to continue developing the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket & Orion, NASA’s deep-space exploration vehicle

* Provisions for Orion to be used for crew transfer on the International Space Station

* Facilitates commercialization & economic development of low-earth orbit

* Authorizes NASA to monitor & study the medical effects of human space flight on astronauts

“Funding levels for NASA science and engineering programs could be higher, but this is a good start,” IEEE-USA President Karen Pedersen said. “We urge Congress to appropriate the money for NASA to realize its deep-space goals.”

The bill passed the House Tuesday. The Senate approved it by unanimous consent in February. It has been sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.

“I urge President Trump to sign this bill into law immediately,” Pedersen said.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced the bill in the Senate on 17 February. He was joined by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

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Contact: John Yaglenski
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