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NASA needs budget boost; 70 years at Armstrong center


Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25) urges that NASA’s budget be fully funded and made stronger, when the House and Senate meet to work out differences between their respective agency authorization bills.

Knight, who represents the Antelope Valley, which is arguably the world’s premier location for aeronautics research, sent a letter late last month to Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and ranking member Rep. Eddie Johnson, also of Texas, after the Senate advanced its own version of a NASA authorization bill in which it proposes to cut funding for aeronautics research by a reported $39 million in 2017. Knight argued that the funding reduction would halt advancement of the United States aviation program at a critical time and proposes that funding be increased.

“We strongly urge you to maintain a position that adequately supports our nation’s aeronautics enterprise in negotiating authorized funding levels for NASA for Fiscal Year 2017 with your counterparts in the Senate,” wrote Knight. “We must recommit ourselves to an aeronautics program that is capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century, positions America’s industry to lead tomorrow’s global aviation market, and maintains the nation’s air dominance.” Knight’s father, the late state senator William “Pete” Knight, was a former NASA test pilot and astronaut.

Earlier this year Knight authored a bill to expand the Federal Aviation Administration’s research and development initiatives integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into the nation’s airspace, which passed the House in July.

“Aeronautics is the first ‘A’ in NASA. It is critical to our national security as well as our economy, especially here in Southern California,” Knight stated. “We must ensure our continued success in this industry by properly investing in aeronautics research and development today.”

In related news about the aerospace industry, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released a statement commemorating the 70-year anniversary of the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center and issued a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.

“For seven decades, NASA Armstrong has served as the test ground for American exceptionalism. What started as a remote location to achieve supersonic flight has become the center of aeronautical innovation. The boundaries to manned and unmanned flight have proven to be no match for the ingenuity and pioneering spirit in the Mojave Desert. The results have benefited not only our country, but all of mankind. We are grateful to all the men and women who have followed the trailblazing vision of Hugh Dryden and Neil Armstrong and commemorate their continuing endeavor to maintain American superiority in aeronautics.”