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Udall Amendment In NASA Bill Combats Space Junk

on November 17, 2019 - 5:32am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, has announced the passage of two Udall-authored amendments and two additional Udall-cosponsored amendments to the NASA Reauthorization Act of 2019.
The Committee accepted all four amendments on a unanimous voice vote and voted to advance the NASA reauthorization bill to the Senate floor.
“Outer space is both a strategic national security priority and an economic engine for communities in New Mexico and across the country. But our increased utilization of space comes with challenges, including growing amounts of dangerous debris in orbit and the need for reliable and secure communications, along with new opportunities brought by facilities like Spaceport America in New Mexico. With these additional amendments, the NASA Reauthorization Act will advance policies to help sustain American leadership in space,” Udall said. “I’m a proud to support these forward looking amendments that will bolster New Mexico’s already thriving space economy.”
Below is a full breakdown of the Udall sponsored amendments in the NASA Reauthorization Act of 2019:
Udall Amendment 1- This amendment ensures NASA meets or exceeds new international guidelines for debris mitigation and the sustainable use of space. The amendment continues Udall’s efforts to protect low earth orbit from dangerous debris and the unintended consequences of new satellite deployments. New Mexico’s nascent space businesses rely on ready and safe access to space. The development of debris mitigation technologies and best practices for spaceflight to avoid debris both support the growing New Mexico space economy.
Udall Amendment 2- This amendment would require the NASA Administrator to conduct a study on the feasibility, impact, and cost of using commercial communications program services for sub-orbital flight and low-Earth orbit research. Currently, NASA communications do not allow for real-time data collection, observation, or transmission of information during research program launches. New commercialized communication options could


Sullivan-Udall Amendment 1 – offered by Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Ark) and cosponsored by Udall, this amendment requires that the NASA Administrator present a report on the benefits of increased utilization of commercial spaceports licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration like Spaceport America in New Mexico for NASA civil space missions and operations.


Thune-Udall Amendment 1 – offered by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and cosponsored by Udall, this amendment encourages the Space Communications and Navigation program office of NASA to continue to support research on and development of optical communications and to develop quantum encryption capabilities, especially those capabilities that apply to optical communications network, in order to provide NASA with more secure and reliable space-based communications.