WASHINGTON — Testimony by NASA’s Inspector General at a May 16 hearing provided new support to efforts by two senators to block plans to end funding of the International Space Station in 2025.
At the hearing, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the space subcommittee, and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the full Senate Commerce Committee, reiterated their opposition to the proposal included in NASA’s fiscal year 2019 budget request to end funding of the ISS in 2025 and transition to commercial facilities in low Earth orbit.
“Nowhere in federal statute is there a request from Congress seeking a hard deadline to end federal support for ISS, to cross our fingers and hope for the best,” Cruz said in his opening statement, comparing such a “premature” end to the retirement of the space shuttle and cancellation of the Constellation program. “Prematurely cancelling a program for political reasons costs jobs and wastes billions of dollars.”
“Abandoning this incredible orbiting laboratory where they are doing research, when we are on the cusp of a new era of space exploration, would be irresponsible at best and probably disastrous,” said Nelson.
One of the hearing’s two witnesses, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin, shared ...