Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Senate companion bill to H.R. 3766, the One Small Step to Protect Human Heritage in Space Act. H.R. 3766 was introduced in July 2019 by Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Chairwoman Kendra Horn (D-OK), and Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Ranking Member Brian Babin (R-TX). The Senate companion, S. 1694, that passed the House today, introduced by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), enacts protections for the Apollo site heritage by making NASA’s recommendations on protecting and preserving U.S. government lunar artifacts a requirement for the agency and its partners’ future activities on the Moon. Additionally, the legislation directs NASA to inform other relevant Federal agencies of the recommendations, and honors the over 400,000 scientists, designers, and researchers who contributed to the Apollo programs, including NASA’s “Hidden Figures” like Katherine Johnson – an African American mathematician who worked at NASA for 35 years and calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 flight to the moon as well the trajectories for the spaceflights of astronauts John Glenn and Alan Shepard.
“I am pleased that the House passed the 'One Small Step to Protect Human Heritage in Space Act' today,” said Chairwoman Johnson. “Apollo remains a beacon of inspiration and a symbol of what we, as a nation, can accomplish. I have long advocated for the preservation of the Apollo artifacts, which hold deep cultural, historical, and scientific value for not only the United States, but for all of humanity. It is important that NASA and the United States lead the way in guiding responsible behavior in space, and this legislation to preserve our human heritage in space is, itself, one small step in practicing that leadership.”
“The Apollo landing sites mark one of humanity's greatest achievements: the first time we were able to do more than look up at the sky, but actually leave our planet and visit another world,” said Ranking Member Lucas. “The One Small Step Act maintains these historic sites while encouraging the spirit of exploration that got us to the Moon. I'm proud to sponsor this bill to honor our historical achievements, and I look forward to the time when we can return humans to the Moon and continue the mission of discovery and learning that the Apollo astronauts began.”
“Today, more actors, including other nations and commercial entities, are planning to carry out lunar activities,” said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairwoman Kendra Horn. “And we, as a nation, and our partners are planning and preparing to return humans to the Moon once again as part of a deep space exploration program to send humans to Mars. In order to protect the historic artifacts that memorialize humankind’s first exploration of the Moon and the advancements achieved by the Apollo program, the One Small Step Act takes timely action based on guidance from NASA.”
“I’m pleased that my colleagues and I were able to pass this important legislation to maintain the Apollo landing sites’ artifacts,” said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Babin. “The One Small Step Act commemorates our history and encourages our future in space exploration. This will allow our nation’s emerging and vibrant commercial space sector to continue to innovate, while also respecting the rich historical, scientific, and engineering accomplishments of the Apollo program. I look forward to seeing this bill become law.”
“As a child, I watched the achievements of the Apollo missions with excitement about what is possible when we come together with a common goal,” said Senator Peters. “I was proud to author this bipartisan legislation to preserve for all of humanity the incredible achievements of the Apollo astronauts on the Moon—and also to honor the 400,000 people around the world who made it possible—including the now famous African American “Hidden Figures” who were crucial in calculating trajectories that got astronauts to and from the Moon.”
“As we look forward to new expeditions to the moon and placing American boots where they have never gone before on Mars, it is crucial to safeguard the history of American exceptionalism and ingenuity in space, from Apollo 11 to the upcoming Artemis program missions," said Senator Cruz. "As the chairman of the Aviation and Space subcommittee and as a Texan, I am honored to help preserve these historic human heritage sites, while continuing to maintain a dominant presence in low-Earth orbit and beyond.”