(Washington, DC) House Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas released a statement following a hearing with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson:
"We learned some important information from Administrator Nelson about NASA’s plans for continued space exploration and how it intends to prioritize its many mission areas. I appreciate his recognition that we face a very real and growing threat from China’s aggressive plans for space exploration. We’re not competing with the Chinese Communist Party for bragging rights—what’s at stake is much bigger than that.
"Whether through their new space station or Lunar and Martian missions, China’s expanded presence in space creates more advanced technologies that will be proprietary to the Chinese Communist Party. A Chinese-Russian partnership for a human base on the Moon raises national security concerns and questions about critical mineral mining. America’s leadership in space ensures our continued security and technological development here on Earth.
"America’s strength is in our thriving commercial space industry and the partnership between NASA and the private sector that goes back to the Apollo era. Our flourishing commercial space sector is a great example of the value of investing in partnerships and innovation. For decades, the U.S. government was the only customer for space launches. Today, private industry is able to launch everything from cubesats to astronauts. The commercial space industry creates jobs, develops new technology, and brings costs down for NASA programs. We need a robust budget and streamlined regulations to ensure our commercial space sector continues to thrive.
"Given the critical nature of American space exploration, I was reassured by Administrator Nelson’s commitment to launching Artemis 1 this year and Artemis 2 in 2023. However, we didn’t receive any information about whether NASA will reach its goal of landing humans on the Moon in 2024. To succeed in big missions like this, we need hard targets and detailed plans in place. I’ll be following up to get more information on NASA’s strategy.
"I’m looking forward to working with Administrator Nelson in his new role to ensure we’re giving NASA the support and oversight needed to send humans to the Moon and then on to Mars."