Hutchison, Nelson: "Urgent Need to Comply" with Law

Hutchison, Nelson: "Urgent Need to Comply" with Law

Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) said that the contingency plans being drawn up for International Space Station (ISS) operations underscore the need for NASA to develop a new crew space transportation system as required by the 2010 NASA Authorization Act.

In a press statement today, the Senators said:

“This is a very serious situation that bears close attention. Obviously, we must satisfy ourselves that the problem with the Russian rocket is identified and corrected as soon as possible. Perhaps the problems can be resolved quickly. But the very fact that NASA must make contingency plans for reducing the size or evacuating the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) if the Russian Soyuz cannot return to flight by November, is a compelling illustration of the urgent need to comply with the law and proceed immediately with the development of alternative and backup launch capabilities. Failure to take this action undermines U.S. leadership in space and jeopardizes our huge investment in the ISS.”

NASA and its Russian counterpart, Roscosmos, are developing contingency plans for ISS operations following the failure of a Soyuz U launch vehicle last week that doomed a Progress cargo spacecraft destined for the ISS. NASA ISS program manager Mike Suffredini outlined the possibilities at a press conference earlier today.

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