WASHINGTON, D.C., July 18, 2023 – U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, recently joined her colleagues in advancing the Fiscal Year 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which would provide key funding for space exploration and research, directly supporting important efforts at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
In the bill, Senator Britt secured $110 million for the development of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) based at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to ensure that the United States has an NTP system capable of performing cislunar and deep space science missions, as well as potentially enabling future crewed missions to Mars.
This legislation would also appropriate $2.5 billion for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). The SLS program is managed at Marshall. This critical funding would enable future deep-space exploration and support Marshall Space Flight Center’s work in advancing this key national priority. The funding requested by Senator Britt would also ensure future Artemis missions remain on schedule and continue to launch astronauts beyond Earth’s orbit in SLS – the most powerful rocket ever.
Additionally, the bill would fully fund the Human Landing System (HLS) program at $1.88 billion, ensuring maintained progress for Artemis 3 and continued development of the two crewed lunar landers to provide services from the Gateway lunar space station. NASA’s recent selection of a second HLS team will ensure redundancy and competition as our nation returns astronauts to the moon. The HLS program is also managed at Marshall.
Furthermore, this legislation would support NASA’s efforts as they evaluate multi-purpose habitation and life support systems for Mars transit and lunar surfaces currently involved in the Artemis missions, including in assembly facilities, to manufacture the mock-up and eventual habitats for these missions. Earlier this year in a Senate Committee on Appropriations subcommittee hearing, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson reaffirmed that Marshall Space Flight Center has both the expertise and workforce to establish a habitat and life support office that integrates and manages NASA’s efforts.
“The Marshall Space Flight Center is second-to-none. As the incredible men and women at NASA, along with their partners in the private sector, continue to make historic leaps that broaden our understanding and expand the limits of human achievement, we must ensure that their groundbreaking work is supported,” said Senator Britt. “I am proud of the work that Alabamians accomplish every day to fuel a new age of American excellence in space exploration, and I am continually impressed at how our capabilities in Huntsville lead innovation crucial to our national priorities.”
The FY2024 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act now moves to the full Senate for consideration.