The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has unanimously approved legislation that would add a shuttle mission and jump start work on a heavy-lift rocket next year. The NASA Reauthorization Act effectively cancels the Constellation program, but directs NASA to begin work immediately on a new heavy-lift vehicle to be ready by 2016, along with a crew vehicle. The new legislation takes money away, however, from two main focuses on Obama's proposed budget: commercial space development and funding for innovation and breakthrough technologies.
Commercial space ventures would only get $1.6 billion for development in the next three years, as opposed to Obama's plan for $3.3 billion on commercial rocket companies between 2011 and 2013.
Obama had proposed $6 billion over five years for technology development whereas the new Senate bill funds advanced technologies at about $950 million over three years.
Both of these components of the are a big disappointment for those looking towards the future and not necessarily honing in on the next few years.
The plan, mainly spearheaded by Florida Senator Bill Nelson is said to be a compromise between Obama's plan and those in Congress who opposed it.
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