Alabama Congressional members join President at White House for signing of NASA Authorization bill

[Photo Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool | Getty Images]

Several members of the Alabama delegation trekked across town in Washington, D.C. Tuesday morning to join President Donald Trump at a bill-signing ceremony.

​Alabama Members —Sen. Luther Strange along with Alabama U.S. Reps. Martha Roby, Robert Aderholt, and Mo Brooks — flanked ​Trump ​in the Oval Office as he ​signed the NASA Transition Authorization Act​, a $19.5 billion in NASA funding for the 2018 budget year and adds human exploration of Mars as an agency objective​.​

NASA bill signing
NASA Authorization Act bill signing, Tues. March 21, 2017. [Photo courtesy of Rep. Mo Brooks]

“With this legislation, we support NASA’s scientists, engineers and astronauts and their pursuit of discovery,” Trump continued. “This bill will make sure that NASA’s most important and effective programs are sustained.”

Among the policy provisions included are designating the Mission to Mars as the nation’s primary long-term exploration goal and identifying the Space Launch System as the deep space vehicle, which is managed at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. The bill also calls on NASA to submit a detailed plan for how deep space exploration by astronauts will proceed.

Mo Brooks and Donald Trump
Rep. Mo Brooks and President Donald Trump, Tues. March 21, 2017. [Photo courtesy of Rep. Mo Brooks]

“This legislation gives NASA the long-term purpose and stability NASA needs to accomplish its robust missions, including the Space Launch System and Orion Spacecraft,” said Brooks who represents Alabama’s Fifth District, which includes the Marshall Space Flight Center. “In signing this legislation, President Trump demonstrated his strong support for NASA and reaffirmed America’s commitment to human spaceflight and the journey to Mars.  These programs play into the strengths of the Marshall Space Flight Center and focus on areas in which Marshall has excelled for more than half a century.”

Alabama’s new U.S. Senator Luther Strange echoed Brooks’ support.

“Alabamians make crucial contributions to our nation’s space programs,” Strange told Alabama Today. “I was proud today to join the President as he reauthorized funding for NASA, with a special focus on the vital missions of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Together, we will work to keep NASA on the cutting edge of deep space exploration, with Alabamians leading the way.

If Alabama’s 2nd District U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, a member of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, has anything to say about it, NASA will continue to have the resources it needs to operate saying she’s committed “to ensuring NASA has the resources it needs to remain the world’s preeminent space program.”

“Alabamians are proud of the key role NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville plays in the space program,” Roby added. “This bill will ensure important NASA exploration efforts are authorized and properly funded for in 2017, including the Mission to Mars.”

The new law is the first NASA authorization to pass both houses of Congress since the NASA Authorization Act of 2010.

Watch the bill-signing ceremony below: