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Congressman Mo Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Alabama

House Passes Mo Brooks Bill Formally Designating Marshall Space Flight Center as NASA's Rocket Propulsion Lead

June 27, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC— Wednesday afternoon, on a unanimous bipartisan voice vote, the U.S. House passed Congressman Mo Brooks’ bill, H.R.5345, the “American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act” or “ALSTAR Act.” The bill formally designates Alabama’s Marshall Space Flight Center as NASA’s lead center for rocket propulsion. In addition, the ALSTAR Act directs Marshall to explore, develop, coordinate and mature new rocket propulsion technology in cooperation with government and private sector partners.

Brooks said, “I appreciate my colleagues’ support for designating Marshall Space Flight Center as NASA’s lead center for rocket propulsion. It is gratifying to see the ALSTAR Act pass the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. My colleagues recognize that developing and improving rocket propulsion is essential to America’s maintaining our leadership in space exploration and national security. In turn, my colleagues also recognize that Marshall Space Flight Center is best equipped to take the lead on exploring, developing, and maturing new rocket propulsion technology in cooperation with government and private sector partners. Perhaps most importantly, the ALSTAR Act formally protects the Marshall Space Flight Center’s rocket propulsion efforts and team from those political forces that may, in the future, seek to shift Marshall’s rocket propulsion efforts, and jobs, elsewhere.”

Click HERE or on the above image for video of Congressman Brooks

debating the ALSTAR Act on the House floor

Brooks continued, “As Congress guides America’s national space policy, we must promote the robust rocket propulsion industrial base that is essential to our space presence. After all, rocket propulsion is fundamental to everything we do in space. The ALSTAR Act ensures the long-term stability of the rocket propulsion industry through better coordination and collaboration between all relevant stakeholders.”

Brooks concluded, “Marshall Space Flight Center is the birthplace of the American space program. Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team famously pioneered rocket propulsion at Marshall during the Space Race of the 50s and 60s. Marshall has decades of experience working with other government agencies and industry partners to study and coordinate rocket propulsion technologies that are critical to national security, intelligence gathering, communications, weather forecasting, navigation, communications, entertainment, land use, Earth observation, and scientific exploration. The ALSTAR Act solidifies Marshall’s status as America’s premier rocket propulsion center and challenges Marshall to develop the next generation of rocket propulsion technology.”

Congressman Brooks’ full floor speech follows:

Mr. Speaker, as the Congressman for the Tennessee Valley, I am uniquely situated to appreciate the valuable contribution the Marshall Space Flight Center has made, and continues to make, to America’s rocket propulsion capabilities.

As a child growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, I well-remember the 1960s, as nearby Saturn V rocket engine tests shook the ground and rattled the windows.

I also remember the great pride in America I felt the moment Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon after leaving earth on one of our Saturn V rockets.

No doubt about it, developing and improving rocket propulsion is essential to American’s leadership in space exploration and national security. 

And it has been the Marshall Space Flight Center that has provided, and continues to provide, the cutting-edge expertise America needs in both solid and liquid rocket propulsion.

Over the last several years, America has witnessed a resurgence in the rocket propulsion industry. As traditional and emerging actors move forward, it is important that the federal government minimize expensive duplication and support healthy cooperation and communication between the private sector and federal government to promote America’s robust rocket propulsion industry.

With President Trump’s establishment of Space Force as an independent branch of the military, rocket propulsion is recognized as even more important to securing America’s future than ever before because America’s military relies heavily on its space assets (global positioning satellites being but one example) to protect our national security.

As Congress guides America’s national space policy, we must promote the robust rocket propulsion industrial base that is essential to our space presence. 

My bill, H.R. 5345, the American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act of 2018 (commonly known as the “ALSTAR Act”), helps ensure the long-term stability of the rocket propulsion industry through better coordination and collaboration between all relevant stakeholders, public and private.

Specifically, the ALSTAR Act formally designates Marshall Space Flight Center as NASA’s current and future lead center for rocket propulsion. 

In addition, the ALSTAR Act directs Marshall to explore, develop, and mature new rocket propulsion technology in cooperation with partners across and outside of government. This new emphasis, while building on a strong foundation, helps to ensure that America remains at the forefront of space exploration.

Mr. Speaker, in the 1940s and 1950s, voyages to the moon were thought impossible.  But America rose to the challenge and overcame the impossible.

Today, America must once again challenge itself to reach far beyond its limits.

Through our increased attention, focus, and support of the utilization of space and the exploration of deep space we, too, can overcome the impossible and help inspire the next generation of Americans to look to the stars and go where no one has gone before. 

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