GOP Rep. Proposes Partnership Between NASA and U.S. Colleges in New Bill
Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) introduced the Space Research Innovation Act on Friday “to allow the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to partner with universities to conduct deep-space research and mission development,” according to a press release.
While the Department of Defense regularly partners with universities — know as “University Affiliated Research Centers” — NASA has not yet created such permanent partnerships for research and development.
Biggs cites the May 30 SpaceX Falcon 9 launch — in which astronauts launched from U.S. soil for space for the first time in nearly a decade — as his inspiration for the bill.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 31, 2020
“Last month, we witnessed an extraordinary achievement when for the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. astronauts returned to orbit in a domestically manufactured spacecraft,” Biggs said in a statement. “Like all Americans, I was inspired by this remarkable feat, and it has encouraged me to think about ways for the U.S. to maintain its edge as a leader in space.”
As space reclaims the nation’s interest with more launches and innovations, Biggs seeks to maximize the knowledge of scientists in NASA and the country’s universities.
“Universities benefit from the prestige and educational opportunities that a UARC brings; NASA benefits from the collaborative research,” Biggs said. “My legislation will encourage more utilization of this mutually advantageous model to foster the next generation of space exploration and discovery.”
With the instatement of the Space Force as the sixth branch of the military and U.S. senators moving to make UFO information public, space is becoming a more familiar conversation in politics for the first time in decades.
— NASA (@NASA) June 1, 2020
Biggs sees these potential partnerships as beneficial for both NASA and the schools’ goals and missions.
“In many ways, these institutions are a perfect partner for NASA. Not only do American universities benefit from some of the world’s best scientists, they are also natural incubators of multidisciplinary research and private sector cooperation,” Biggs said. “Best of all, NASA missions affiliated with universities have a proven track record of reaching completion on-time and on-budget.”