S.442 – National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017

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Week ending March 3, 2017

S.442 – National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017


The bill would ‘…authorize the programs of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and for other purposes.’ The bill is a bit out of the normal schedule for authorization bills by several months that usually come after the president’s and congressional budget resolutions are agreed to.

The bill addresses appropriations, sustaining space commitments, maximizing the International Space Station and low-earth orbit (space from earth to the moon), advancing human deep space exploration (beyond the moon), advancing space science, aeronautics, space technology, and maximizing efficiency.

For fiscal year 2017 $19,508,000,000 is appropriated. For Exploration, $4,330,000,000; for Space Operations, $5,023,000,000; for Science, $5,500,000,000; for Aeronautics, $640,000,000; for Space Technology, $686,000,000; for Education, $115,000,000; for Safety, Security, and Mission Services, $2,788,600,000; for Construction and Environmental Compliance and Restoration, $388,000,000; and for Inspector General, $37,400,000.

Policy of the United States.—

It shall be the policy of the United States, in consultation with its international partners in the ISS program, to support full and complete utilization of the ISS through at least 2024.  The policy requires the US to pursue international, commercial, and intragovernmental means to maximize ISS logistics supply, maintenance, and operational capabilities, reduce risks to ISS systems sustainability, and offset and minimize United States operations costs relating to the ISS.

Also ‘Congress finds that reliance on foreign carriers for United States crew transfer is unacceptable, and the Nation’s human space flight program must acquire the capability to launch United States government astronauts on vehicles using United States rockets from United States soil as soon as is safe, reliable, and affordable to do so.’ The Federal Government may not acquire human space flight transportation services from a foreign entity unless no United States Government-operated human space flight capability is available;  no United States commercial provider is available; and it is a qualified foreign entity.

To achieve human exploration of Mars and beyond through the prioritization of those technologies and capabilities best suited for such a mission in accordance with the stepping stone approach to exploration

The long-term goals of the human space flight and exploration efforts of NASA shall be—

“(1) to expand permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and to do so, where practical, in a manner involving international, academic, and industry partners;

“(2) crewed missions and progress toward achieving the goal in paragraph (1) to enable the potential for subsequent human exploration and the extension of human presence throughout the solar system; and

“(3) to enable a capability to extend human presence, including potential human habitation on another celestial body and a thriving space economy in the 21st Century.”.

Policy statement.—In order to ensure continuous United States participation and leadership in the exploration and utilization of space and as an essential instrument of national security, it is the policy of the United States to maintain an uninterrupted capability for human space flight and operations—

“(1) in low-Earth orbit; and

“(2) beyond low-Earth orbit once the capabilities described in section 421(f) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017 become available.”; and

(2) in subsection (b), by striking “Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate describing the progress being made toward developing the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Crew Launch Vehicle” and inserting “Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives describing the progress being made toward developing the Space Launch System and Orion”.

(More bill information)

(Full text of S. 442 at congress.gov)

Sponsor:  Sen. Cruz, Ted [R-TX] (Introduced 02/17/2017)

Status: Passed Senae / Passed House /



On Passage: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote

House Amendments:

Motion to recommit:

Text of the motion:


On Passage: Passed Senate by unanimous consent.

Procedural Actions:

Senate Amendments:


Cost to the taxpayers:  Data not available

Pay-as-you-go requirements:  Data not available

Regulatory and Other Impact: Data not available

Dynamic Scoring:   Data not available

Tax Complexity:  Not applicable to this bill.

Earmark Certification:  Data not available

Duplication of programs: Data not available

Direct Rule-Making:  Data not available

Advisory Committee Statement: Data not available

Budget Authority: Data not available

Constitutional Authority:   Assumed.


More Bill Information:


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