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Urgent action required: Please call Senators TODAY

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

14-07-2010 11:56 CDT


It's time to make phone calls to support space exploration. We're sending the following letter to all our members today, and urge everyone reading this to pick up the phone and take action. I've already made my phone calls.

The NASA budget is coming to a critical vote tomorrow, July 15, by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. This is the Committee that authorizes the NASA program. The planned authorization bill has some good features: fully funding the President's request for an increased budget for NASA, strong space and Earth science programs, and redirecting human space flight towards exploration into the solar system. It also increases support for the deep-space rocket and spacecraft necessary to take astronauts there.

But it has two big drawbacks:

  1. It stops the rapid development of commercial rockets for Earth orbit crew transportation, while authorizing no new government program to replace the shuttle.
  2. It cuts out most of the technology development (90%!) and robotic precursor missions related to the future of exploration, two of the brightest lights in the new exploration strategy.
Two amendments are being introduced tomorrow to correct these problems: one by Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and the other by Senator Barbara Boxer of California. Together they will restore much of the technology program (increasing it by $356 million) and permit commercial launch vehicles to be developed to allow astronaut flights to the International Space Station sooner.

We urge you to call your Senators today and ask them to support the Warner and Boxer NASA Authorization Amendments, especially if one of your Senators is on the Senate Committee. A phone call is necessary; there's no time for a written letter (these amendments just were announced late yesterday). These are the Committee members:

  • Democrats
    • Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia, Chairman
    • Daniel Inouye, Hawaii
    • John Kerry, Massachusetts
    • Byron Dorgan, North Dakota
    • Barbara Boxer, California
    • Bill Nelson, Florida
    • Maria Cantwell, Washington
    • Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey
    • Mark Pryor, Arkansas
    • Claire McCaskill, Missouri
    • Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota
    • Tom Udall, New Mexico
    • Mark Warner, Virginia
    • Mark Begich, Alaska
  • Republicans
    • Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas, Ranking Member
    • Olympia Snowe, Maine
    • John Ensign, Nevada
    • Jim DeMint, South Carolina
    • John Thune, South Dakota
    • Roger Wicker, Mississippi
    • Johnny Isakson, Georgia
    • David Vitter, Louisiana
    • Sam Brownback, Kansas
    • Mike Johanns, Nebraska
    • George LeMieux, Florida
You may call your Senator directly in Washington by calling the U.S. Capitol main number, 202-224-3121, or find their office numbers through The Planetary Society Legislative Action site. [Note: I can vouch for the fact that calling that main number and asking for the office of a specific Senator works just fine. --ESL]

Please call today; the vote is tomorrow morning.

Thank you for your consideration and prompt action. No one is more devoted to the future of human and robotic space exploration than Members of The Planetary Society.

ouis Friedm
xecutive Director

See other posts from July 2010


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