The Huntsville Times reports this morning that Alabama’s two senators agree with the proposal by three colleagues to preserve shuttle infrastructure—provided that there is more money appropriated to NASA to cover any additional shuttle missions. “If the Bush administration intends to propose additional shuttle flights, then we must have a corresponding increase in the NASA budget request,” said Sen. Richard Shelby. “Otherwise, I would oppose any such effort that will undercut our research and development of America’s next generation of space flight.” Shelby and Jeff Sessions were responding to a letter earlier this week by Sens. John McCain, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and David Vitter, asking the president to direct NASA not to take any steps that would prevent additional shuttle flights beyond 2010.
Meanwhile, at least one member of Congress is concerned about reports that a Russian cosmonaut took images of Georgia from the ISS earlier this month just after Russian troops entered the country. The images were taken for “humanitarian” uses, an explanation that satisfies NASA, but not necessarily Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL). “It is a concern when any of our international space partners use the station… for what could be used for strategy or tactics,” he told the Washington Times.