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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Sen. Warner Speaks Out for Commercial Crew

United States Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) placed comments into the Congressional Record October 20, 2011 regarding the NASA commercial crew funding and development at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Over the past month, there have been communications between space advocates from Florida and Virginia over commercial crew program and human spaceflight on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

"One very important agency funded by the fiscal year 2012 Commerce-Justice-Science bill that has not been getting much attention in the debate this week is NASA. Senators Nelson, Hutchison, Rockefeller, and others worked incredibly hard to get a balanced reauthorization bill passed last year, and I commend them for their hard work in getting it signed into law. One aspect of that bill that I worked particularly hard on was ensuring that we are doing what we can to advance NASA's mission while also promoting the development of the commercial space sector. In negotiations on that authorization bill, Senator NELSON and I arrived at what I believe is a fair compromise that will allow us to pursue advances in the commercial cargo and commercial crew fields and harness the innovation and cost savings that the private sector can provide," Senator Warner placed into the record.

"In the current fiscal climate, it is imperative that we partner with commercial companies to pursue the cost-effective innovation that can only be achieved through the competition that exists in the private sector. Supporting development of the commercial space industry will also help create steady, well-paying jobs and spur economic growth--not only in urban tech corridors, but also in more rural areas where launch facilities are located such as the Wallops Island facility in my home State of Virginia," the member of the Senate Commerce Committee noted.

Virginia's Senator Warner went on to include: "Moving forward with the CCDEV program will also result in additional opportunities for development at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. I have supported the Wallops facilities in Virginia since my time as Governor, and from my recent visits, I can attest that they are making tremendous progress in developing their launch infrastructure. Providing funding for the CCDEV program at authorized levels, as we have done in this bill, will help us drive competition in the commercial space industry and will provide opportunities for facilities such as Wallops to further develop their launch infrastructure and provide steady, high-wage employment in areas that sorely need it."

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