2012 Legislative Blitz: Broad Bi-Partisan Support for US Space Program on Capitol Hill, Yet Differing Opinions on Approach

The National Space Society (NSS) is pleased to announce that this year’s Legislative Blitz was very successful, as we called on Congress to work with the Administration and NASA to reach consensus on a unified and comprehensive human and robotic spaceflight program.

The annual Blitz, conducted in conjunction with 12 other non-profit space advocacy organizations that collectively form the Space Exploration Alliance (SEA), is a grassroots event that unites individuals from all walks of life and with diverse political beliefs to meet with members of Congress and/or their staff to stress the importance of space exploration and development.

“We had 100 congressional meetings over two days, and found broad bi-partisan support for our space program, but varying opinions as to the best path forward in light of the current budget situation, and those differences of opinion are not necessarily based on party lines,” said NSS Executive Vice President Rick Zucker, the primary coordinator and scheduler for the Blitz on behalf of SEA.

The Blitz teams advocated for the six major components of a well-developed U.S. space program contained in the SEA’s Blitz Talking Points:

1. Development of the next generation of launch vehicles that are “mission-enabling and mission-enhancing, while at the same time focused on efficiency, affordability, safety, reliability and sustainability”;

2. Full support by Congress for the commercial launch industry in its efforts to restore American access to the International Space Station, with NASA focusing its resources on exploration, which would provide NASA with a higher return on its science/exploration budget;

3. Establishment of specific timelines and goals for future human space activities, including at least one intermediate destination beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO), such as an asteroid or the Moon, as well as a plan to land a human on Mars;

4. Support for space science that will push the boundaries of knowledge and pave the way for human space exploration;

5. The definition and prioritization by NASA of the most promising advanced technology concepts, which will not only provide the means to explore and develop space, and a sustained human presence in space, but also to develop new applications to improve life on Earth; and

6. A sustained generational commitment to NASA’s mission that transcends partisan politics and election cycles, as well as provides incentives for private sector participation and international partnerships.

In addition to the Blitz Talking Points and other informative materials, a copy of NSS’s recently published “Call to Action for American Leadership in Civil Space” was distributed to the individual members and their staff at each of the meetings.

NSS Executive Director Paul Damphousse said, “NSS is very pleased to lead the SEA in calling on Congress and the Administration to work together in leveraging the necessary partnerships between the public and private sectors relative to space exploration and launch capabilities. We look forward to a continued strong relationship with our sister organizations in advocating for our mutual goals.”

About the Space Exploration Alliance: The Space Exploration Alliance is an unprecedented partnership of the nation’s premier non-profit space organizations with a combined membership of thousands of people throughout the United States. SEA members work together to communicate to the American public and elected officials that NASA’s bold and substantial mandate for human and robotic exploration of the solar system is a compelling national priority that is technically and fiscally achievable, will inspire the nation’s youth and the public, reinvigorate the traditional aerospace workforce and industrial base, and foster job-creating entrepreneurial activity across the entire economy.

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