Congressman Aderholt Supports Increased Funding for NASA Exploration
April 24, 2007
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) today offered the following statement regarding NASA funding for FY07 and FY08 and what it means for the future of the Robotic Lunar Program:
“I was very encouraged to see Senator Shelby work to restore FY07 funding for the Robotic Lunar Program. This isn’t a luxury vehicle that we’re talking about but rather a crucial component of our nation’s lunar program that will extend mission capabilities while protecting astronauts from potentially dangerous situations. Securing the FY07 funding as Senator Shelby is attempting is important because once a program has been delayed or terminated, it can be very difficult to ever get it started again.
On April 18 I sent a letter to Chairman Mollohan of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee adding to that effort by emphasizing the importance of protecting the specific Exploration portion of the budget which includes the Crew Launch Vehicle work. When this budget is cut, as happened in the Continuing Resolution for FY07, NASA legally can’t move money from aeronautics, or weather research, or other budget categories to make up for it.
The Crew Launch Vehicle, the Robotic Lunar Program, and other programs require years of steady funding for success. To cut their funding in any one year places the entire program in danger in outlying years. Unless we undo the damage caused by the FY07 Continuing Resolution and maintain a steady funding stream, these programs risk being delayed or fizzling out entirely.
Money for programs this large and complicated has to be included year by year. No President, and no Congress, is likely to propose and approve a dramatic spike in funding a few years from now in order to make up for previous low funding years.
This issue also has national security implications as well. Today, Space is increasingly a matter of national security and not simply science for science’s sake. China has an extremely robust space development program that could be a threat to the United States in the future. We cannot allow this to happen by placing our own space program in a position where it is left to wither on the vine.”