NASA Authorization Act of 2005
The act requires NASA to carry out a balanced set of programs in human spaceflight, in aeronautics research and development and in scientific research. The act directs NASA to send robotic spacecraft to study the Moon and planets, and to study astronomy and astrophysics. The act directs NASA to use research satellites to conduct earth science research and research on the Sun-Earth connection. The act also directs NASA to support university research in a variety of fields.
In conducting its work, the act directs NASA to consult with other agencies, including the National Science and Technology Council, and to work closely with the private sector, and to "involve other nations to the extent appropriate."
Vision for Space Exploration
The act makes into law, and establishes milestones for, the United States Vision for Space Exploration (VSE). Specifically it directs the NASA Administrator to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon with a lunar precursor program, and authorizes international collaborations in pursuit of these goals.
The NASA Administrator is directed to "strive to achieve" the following milestones:
- Return Americans to the Moon no later than 2020.
- Launch the Crew Exploration Vehicle as close to 2010 as possible.
- Use the International Space Station to study the impacts of long duration stays in space on the human body.
- Enable humans to land on and return from Mars and other destinations on a timetable that is technically and fiscally possible.
The act requires establishment of a policy to guide U.S. aeronautics research and development programs through 2020. The act reiterates the Federal Government's interest in conducting research and development programs that:
- improve the usefulness, performance, speed, safety, and efficiency of aeronautical vehicles,
- preserve the role of the United States as a global leader in aeronautical technologies and in their application.
The act directs the Administrator to develop a plan for NASA science programs through 2016. The act specifically mentions the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, SIM-Planet Quest, and the "Future Explorers Program".
The act makes specific requirements regarding the NASA budget.
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