Cruz, Nelson Want ISS to Continue Until Viable Commercial Alternative Exists

Cruz, Nelson Want ISS to Continue Until Viable Commercial Alternative Exists

Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) wrote letters to White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot insisting that NASA should continue to fund the International Space Station (ISS) until a viable commercial alternative exists.  The Trump Administration’s proposal is to end direct NASA support for ISS in 2025.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

In a joint press release today, Cruz and Nelson revealed they sent the letters to Mulvaney and Lightfoot last week.  The letter to Lightfoot included a deadline of 5:00 pm ET today for NASA to provide them with details of its efforts to develop the ISS Transition Plan required by the 2017 NASA Transition Authorization Act.  The Transition Plan was supposed to be submitted to Congress by December 1, 2017, but NASA missed the deadline.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Cruz and Nelson stated: “While we have been strong proponents of the U.S. commercial space sector, prematurely ending direct U.S. Government funding of ISS could have disastrous consequences.  The future of ISS should be determined by the emergence of a viable and proven commercial alternative and the needs of our national space program.”

The letter to Lightfoot asked for the following documents and information:

Extract from February 20, 2018 letter to Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot from Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Nelson.

It also asked NASA to preserve records, documents and logs, paper or electronic, created since September 16, 2016 related to the Transition Plan.

The letter to Mulvaney asks for his cooperation in getting the information from NASA and warns: “Failure to comply with this request will require additional action.”

Cruz chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee’s Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee that oversees NASA.  Nelson is the top Democrat on the full committee and one of NASA’s strongest supporters in the Senate.

Word that the Trump Administration would propose ending NASA support for ISS in 2025 as part of its FY2019 budget request leaked out in January.  Nelson reacted immediately by saying that if the proposal was made, the Administration would “have a fight on their hands.”  At a February 7 commercial space conference, Cruz agreed, insisting that as long as he chairs the Senate space subcommittee “ISS will continue to have strong and bipartisan support in the United States Congress.”

The FY2019 budget request nonetheless includes that proposal.

The letter to Mulvaney and the letter to Lightfoot are both posted on Cruz’s website.


User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.