Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke today in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing and highlighted the important partnerships between Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University and NASA for continued space research and innovation.
“NASA partnerships with Arizona’s universities are strong and beneficial. All three Arizona public universities – the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University – provide students with hands-on STEM education and research opportunities, thanks to the Space Grant program and other NASA partnerships,” said Sinema.
Sinema questioned NASA Administrator Bridenstine about potential changes to the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Mission at the University of Arizona. Kyrsten has long championed the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Mission, and helped secure 36 million dollars in dedicated funding to further the mission in last year’s end of year spending bill. Sinema also recently introduced the NASA Authorization Act—bipartisan legislation strengthening American’s leadership in space, bolstering national security, and creating economic opportunities for all Arizonans. The bill also directs NASA to fully fund and launch the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Mission by 2025.
Last year, Sinema introduced the 21st Century Space Grant Modernization Act—bipartisan legislation boosting space education and research funding at Arizona universities by reforming the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program to better support state-based space education and research programs. As part of the Space Grant College and Fellowship program, each state creates a Space Grant Consortium which provides funding for space-related research, workforce training, and education programs throughout the state. Space Grant Consortium consists of Arizona State University. University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. In recent years, NASA’s office of STEM Engagement has diverted a portion of Space Grant funding to cover administrative overhead and unrelated programs, which deprives states, including Arizona, of federal funding upon which they rely. Sinema’s 21st Century Space Grant Modernization Act protects and boosts funding for Arizona space initiatives.