UPDATE: House Version of NASA Authorization Bill Introduced; Markup on Thursday

UPDATE: House Version of NASA Authorization Bill Introduced; Markup on Thursday

UPDATE: A very quick comparison with the Senate version of the bill has been added.

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, has introduced the House version of the NASA authorization bill. Like the Senate bill, it is bipartisan and is cosponsored by Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX), Space and Aeronautics subcommittee chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and Ranking Member Pete Olson (R-TX). It is posted on the Space and Aeronautics subcommittee’s website. Full committee markup is scheduled for this Thursday.

A very quick glance through the bill reveals these differences with what is publicly known about the Senate version, the text of which has not yet been posted on the Web. This is not meant to be a comprehensive comparison.

  • The House bill creates a direct loan or loan guarantee program for companies trying to develop commercial crew capabilities
  • The House bill does not call for any additional space shuttle missions, unlike the Senate bill that would add one more mission (the Launch on Need mission)
  • The House bill is a 5-year authorization; the Senate bill is for 3 years

There are similarities, too. Both bills authorize $19 billion for NASA in FY2011, the same as the President’s request. Both call for extending the International Space Station to at least 2020. Both require the development of a government-owned crew transportation system in parallel with commercial efforts, which would serve as a backup when commercial capabilities become available. Both require immediate development of a heavy lift launch capability.

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