Congress, White House

Bush signs NASA authorization bill

President Bush has signed into law HR 6063, the NASA Authorization Act of 2008, which Congress passed in late September. It was part of a group of bills that the President signed on Wednesday, and he made no public statement about this specific bill. Beyond the funding authorizations in the bill (which are unlikely to be matched by the actual appropriations once the Congress approved a final FY09 spending bill) the bill is probably best known for directing NASA to take “all necessary steps” to add an additional shuttle flight to the manifest to fly the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment to the ISS (although there is an escape clause for NASA to not fly the mission if it can’t be performed before the end of 2010 or would create “significant” increased costs or “unacceptable” safety risks). It also requires NASA to suspend through the end of April 2009 any activities that would prevent the shuttle’s life to be extended beyond 2010. There are, of course, a lot of other low-profile yet interesting provisions tucked away into the bill as well.

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