This weekend, NASA will launch Americans into space on the final flight of the space shuttle program. Our country owes a debt of gratitude to the thousands of men and women who gave so much to make this program successful, and more so to the fourteen men and women who gave their lives. Because of the satellites launched and repaired from the shuttle and its role in constructing the International Space Station, this program helped rewrite chapters in science books for future generations.
As we applaud those achievements, it is only fitting for us to ask what is next for our nation’s human spaceflight program. Where are we going and when? What will it take to get there in regards to government investment and workforce needs? What technologies need to be invented to get there? Will we preserve America’s space leadership legacy and exceptionalism?
The world will be watching this launch, and I expect it will inspire some young boy or girl to want to journey into space. I want to work to ensure that possibility exists for them. As chairman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, I will work with Congress, NASA and the administration to clarify our goals and strategies, to monitor the agency’s progress, and to help address the needs and challenges ahead. An informed public is the only means to garner support both throughout the nation and in the halls of Congress for a robust human spaceflight program.