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Staying second to none: Mayor praises bipartisan agreement on NASA budget

HUNTSVILLE, AL (July 15, 2010) - Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle gave the following statement after the announcement of a bipartisan bill to fund NASA for the next fiscal year:

Good afternoon,

On February 1, 2010 - President Barrack Obama proposed a budget that would have jeopardized the future of manned space flight for America. It was a budget that would have compromised our standing as a nation that is second to none.

Shortly thereafter, our Second to None Initiative was born - and we began working with our congressional delegation, various congressional representatives from across America and, in particular, Senator Richard Shelby, immediately. Everyone I just mentioned has been working tirelessly to overcome this challenge and to keep our space program second to none.

On July 14, 2010, the Subcommittee on Space of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation released a staff draft of the Fiscal Year 2011-13 NASA Senate Authorization Bill.

Authored by SEN. BEN NELSON of FLORIDA, Senator NELSON reports that this bill has White House support and was developed with input from SENATOR BARBARA MIKULSKI of MARYLAND, AND SENATOR RICHARD SHLEBY.

Upon review of this draft, I am very pleased with many provisions of this bill as it returns us to a balanced mix of commercial and government funded space travel and research and development for future systems. This bill is a breakthrough in moving us much closer to the positions established by Senator Shelby. This bill is good for the Nation, good for Alabama and good for Huntsville. This bill:

  • Maintains a $19 Billion total NASA mark in FY11 with modest growth in years thereafter.
  • Over 3 years, provides $7.15 Billion for development of a new Space Launch System as a follow on to the Space Shuttle, capable of supporting both the International Space Station and deep space exploration missions. This includes $1.9 Billion in Fiscal Year 2011.
    • This will allow Marshall Space Flight Center to rapidly press forward with the development of a ground breaking, true heavy lift system with even greater capacity than the Saturn V, capable of supporting deep space exploration to multiple destinations and the International Space Station
    • Requires maximum use of Shuttle, Ares I and Orion contracts, workforce, industrial base and capabilities - this is great news for our local workforce
  • Over 3 years, provides $244 Million for a Robotic Precursor Mission.
    • Marshall has played a critical role in this program for the past several years - it highlights our capabilities in science and spacecraft development
  • Over 3 years, provides over $2.1 Billion for a combination of Exploration and Space Technology Development.
    • This provides the balance of research and technology investment where researchers from across the country, including here at Marshall, will be able to bring their cutting edge ideas to maturity

There are those, however, that have already lost their jobs - and I know those individuals are asking "What does this mean to me?"

What this means is that we've been given the possibility of getting our workforce back to work in FY 11 in as little as 3 months.

As it stands now, this bill means that there is a future for launch vehicle development in Huntsville.

We want to thank everyone for all they have done to make this a reality, especially Senator Shelby, for his steadfastness on these issues of critical importance to the Nation, NASA and Alabama. We look forward to continuing dialogue with stakeholders as this bill and subsequent bills move forward to passage.

This process is not concluding, it is beginning. We encourage The White House, our congressional delegation and the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have worked so hard to make America the world leader in space exploration to stay involved - this is a starting point.

The draft report has that our long term mission is Mars, but there is still work to be done in protecting these efforts and we will insist that The White House stays involved.

In our "thank you's" that got us to this point, we have to recognize Senator Sessions' office and the offices of Congressmen Aderholt, Davis of Tennessee and Griffith. We also have to compliment the volunteers that have worked tirelessly as part of our "SECOND TO NONE INITIATIVE"…you have made a difference.

This is good news for Huntsville but there's more work to do. Our goal remains keeping Huntsville first…and keeping America second to none. Thank you.

Editors Note: See attached files for additional details.
Legislation Summary NASA Authorization Act of 2010- U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation


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