Wednesday, June 18, 2008
By an overwhelming 409-15 vote, the US House of Representatives has passed a new NASA authorization bill. The 20.2 billion is far more than the 17.6 billion requested by the White House. With more funding for science, the bill directs an additional Shuttle mission for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. NASA administrators have resisted the extra flight because of safety and eagerness to end the Shuttle program. (The crew would avoid an accident by leaving the Shuttle in Space and returning by Soyuz.) Congress also budgeted an extra billion to get Orion on line faster. Already international partners have spent 1.5 billion on AMS. While the US government is divided on many things, this day shows strong bipartisan support for Space.