Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) announced Wednesday the creation of the NASA Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives to strengthen policymaker awareness of NASA’s many connections to our national security and economic interests.
The caucus will also provide a bipartisan forum to discuss the scientific and technological challenges to American flight and space exploration endeavors, and serve as a focal point for public and private sector air and space expertise that cover the full range of NASA’s initiatives.
“There has been a lack of representation in the educational activities on Capitol Hill for many of NASA’s most important programs. Many of these programs that are critical to U.S. national interests, and there is an interest here to learn more and support them. But the current landscape does not yet support that level of interest,” Knight said.
“I am proud to stand up this caucus so we can bring timely information to policymakers on these important issues related to exploration, research and development, and strategic investments vital to the future of U.S. air and space competitiveness,” he said. “I look forward to working with the members of this caucus to ensure this institution has the tools it needs to build on the many contributions it has made to American achievement.”
Today is also the anniversary of the launch of the first NASA spacecraft, Pioneer I, in 1958. NASA and its predecessor agency the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics have led many advances in aeronautics and aerospace technology that mark significant inflection points in American and world history.
“NASA has been a part of my life since I was a child,” Knight said. “Last week we celebrated the 50th anniversary of my father’s record supersonic flight and this week we celebrate not only the first NASA launch, but the 70th anniversary of Chuck Yeager’s first flight to break the sound barrier. Programs at the NACA and NASA have always been able to inspire a nation to go above and beyond what is currently known and take leaps to discovery in science. I hope this caucus can stimulate that spark of hope and imagination and get us to inquire more about what NASA can offer to nation.”
This caucus will bring attention to current initiatives that advance that legacy, programmatic and resource challenges, and conversations in preparation of future public endeavors.
“NASA’s storied history has led America to discovery and innovation unparalleled in history. Its future possibilities are endless,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, co-founder of the NASA Caucus.
“As the hardworking researchers and scientists at Glenn Research Center know, for pennies on the dollar, NASA programs have fueled jobs, created new industries and inspired entire generations of Americans,” she said. “Today, we are excited to announce the launch of the bipartisan NASA Caucus to honor this scientific juggernaut’s contributions to American life and to assure its continued contributions to a future further enlightened by scientific advancement.”
Knight and Kaptur thanked the 26 other founding members who have signed on the caucus: Brian Babin (TX), Mo Brooks (AL), André Carson (IN), Kathy Castor (FL), Jim Costa (CA), Barbara Comstock (VA), Charlie Crist (FL), Debbie Dingell (MI), Anna Eshoo (CA), Al Hastings (FL), Bill Johnson (OH), David Joyce (OH), Ro Khanna (CA), Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Ralph Norman (SC), Pete Olson (TX), Steven Palazzo (MS), Ed Perlmutter (CO), Bill Posey (FL), Jamie Raskin (MD), Dana Rohrabacher (CA), Linda T. Sánchez (CA), Scott Taylor (VA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), Randy Weber (TX).
An official launch event to celebrate the establishment of the caucus will take place in December.