Congressman Urges More NASA Funding to Stimulate Economy

Increased funding for NASA would stimulate economy while keeping American industry strong
Op-Ed by Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas)
The Hill

Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin recently stated that these technologies contribute an estimated $220 billion per year to the economy. Moreover, according to the Coalition for Space Exploration, NASA programs and the contractors who support them represent approximately a half-million highly skilled and highly paid American jobs.

One program that could measurably help our economy and advance NASA’s spaceflight capabilities is the successor to the Space Shuttle. As ranking member of the Science and Technology Committee, I am particularly concerned that NASA is on a path to retire the Space Shuttle without having developed, in a timely manner, the next generation of Constellation launch systems. Without additional funding, Constellation cannot be ready before 2015, at the earliest. During this five-year gap, America will make cash payments to Russia to provide transportation for our astronauts and our partners to the International Space Station. During this workforce transition, we stand to lose thousands of skilled aerospace jobs that will be difficult and costly to replace.

Accelerating development of the Constellation system would keep American tax dollars working for us here at home and have a multiplier effect throughout the economy by stimulating high-tech manufacturing and networks of suppliers around the country. This would expand our economic output and help our industries remain competitive in the global marketplace. By fostering this kind of innovation, the U.S. has earned a leadership role in human spaceflight, the economic benefits of which are far-reaching.

Read the full opinion piece.