National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010

  • Date: February 18, 2011
  • Source: Admin
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010 is a bill that supports the overall growth of science, aeronautics, and space technology. It defines long-term goals for the expansion of the human space flight to a permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit. The act specifies funding for an assortment of activities that turn NASA’s focus towards Earth and away from space, including scientific research and aeronautics research and development.



  • Overall funding for NASA for each fiscal year from 2011 through 2015
  • Balanced set of NASA activities in science, aeronautics, and human space flight and exploration
  • Additional funding for science and aeronautics
  • Authorizes a new Space Technology program and funds to develop innovative and transformational technologies
  • Determines human ability to live in space for extended periods of time;
  • Provides in excess of $4.9 billion in funding for commercial crew- and commercial cargo-related initiatives;
  • Extends the International Space Station (ISS) program to at least 2020; provides funding for ISS research and for a ground- and space-based life and physical sciences microgravity research program;
  • Funds the Space Shuttle program; provides funds to aid the Shuttle workforce and affected communities with the post-Shuttle transition;
  • Funds NASA’s education programs to advance knowledge and inspires young people to higher education; seeks to enhance the contribution of NASA’s existing programs to STEM goals;
  • Builds on international partnerships
  • Restructures NASA’s exploration program for continued meaningful progress under a constrained budget, directing NASA to develop a crew transportation system to minimize the post-Shuttle human space flight “gap” and directly support the expeditious development of a heavy lift launch vehicle and capsule for challenging crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit."


Featured Legislations

Human Space Flight

·         Link human space flight efforts to global and national challenges and needs;

·         Incorporate new technologies and in-space capabilities through a sustainable exploration program;

·         Require immediate development of a heavy-lift capability and continued support of an exploration crew vehicle to be capable of supporting missions beyond low-Earth orbit starting in 2016;

·         Support missions beyond low-Earth orbit starting in 2016 through providing continued support of an exploration crew vehicle and developing heavy-lift capability immediately;

·         Maximize use of Space Shuttle, Constellation, and other NASA programs (workforce, assets, and capabilities) to support a sound performance and cost framework

Space Technology

·         Make investments in robotic capabilities and exploration technologies that support U.S. innovation and competitiveness and are linked to the overall exploration framework.

Commercial Cargo and Crew

·         Grant additional funding for launch infrastructure requirements and accelerate development activity and offer continued support to commercial cargo development;

·         Expand the Commercial Crew Development Program in 2011 for concept development and supporting activities, while requiring a number of studies to ensure effective oversight of the potential initiation of a commercial crew capability procurement program no earlier than 2012.

International Space Station

·         Maximize scientific return on ISS’ significant investment by extending the ISS to 2020 (at least) to support growth, research, and technology development and international and commercial collaboration and growth

·         Develop the ISS U.S. segment fully as a National Laboratory through the establishment of an independent non-profit to work with NASA

·         Ensure full functionality of the ISS through 2020 through ISS requirements’ assessment for parts and equipment.

Shuttle Retirement and final “Launch on Need” Mission

·         Prove required support for extending the ISS by authorizing an additional Shuttle flight, contingent on a safety review.

Science and Aeronautics

·         Protect a balanced portfolio for NASA, including full funding of aeronautics and Earth and space science.


·         Reinforce the role of NASA in the development of a workforce with strong science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills by supporting new education initiatives.

·         Increase the investment in NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and NASA Space Grant program.

Re-scoping and Revitalizing Institutional Capabilities

·         Require NASA to examine alternative management models for NASA’s workforce, centers, and capabilities, while enforcing short-term prohibitions on major center displacements and reductions-in-force until the study is completed.



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