Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) Introduces the Advancing Human Spaceflight Act to Solidify and Expand NASA’s Human Space Flight Program as NASA Aims For Mars

September 17, 2021
Press Release
Media contact: Daniela Campos Lopez | daniela.campos@mail.house.gov | 202-227-0330

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- This week, as the anniversary of Houston’s selection to host Johnson Space Center in 1961 approaches, Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29) filed H.R. 5250, the Advancing Human Spaceflight Act of 2021, putting forward a bold strategy to solidify and expand American space exploration with a focus on manned spaceflight. 

“Since the beginning of a worldwide effort to explore space, our country, and Texas, in particular, have been at the forefront of this work. On the 60th anniversary of NASA’s establishment of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, this bill acknowledges the years of great work and research completed by NASA and the Johnson Space Center,” said Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29). 

The bill provides for the development of next-generation spacesuits at Houston’s Johnson Space Center, reaffirms the United States’ commitment to the International Space Station and its successors, and establishes a “stepping stone” approach to exploring the Moon and Mars. 

H.R.5250 contains three primary provisions that strengthen America’s manned spaceflight program and set the stage for future exploration. This bill is the House companion to Senator John Cornyn’s Advancing Human Spaceflight Act in the Senate.  

“The only way to continue learning about the universe around us is to aim high and dream big,” said Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).  “I’m grateful for the continued work of and input from Houston’s space community as we drafted this bill, which sets the stage for a new era of space exploration and to reassert American leadership in space discovery,” said the Senator. 

First, the bill creates a project to develop the next generation of space suits at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. These suits will be designed to meet the challenges of the next stage of space exploration and cater to astronauts of all shapes and sizes to reduce diversity barriers in the NASA Astronaut Corps. 

The Advancing Human Spaceflight Act also recognizes the importance of humans present in near-Earth space missions, especially for scientific experiments and studies that humans can only do. That is why this bill extends America’s commitment to the International Space Station through the year 2030 and ensures that NASA is prepared after 2030 for a transition to a successor program. 

Finally, the H.R. 5250 creates a “stepping stone” approach to human exploration. This strategy allows NASA to conduct missions to destinations like the Moon as part of its larger process of reaching Mars. This will allow the opportunity for NASA to test new equipment and make significant progress in preparation for the human exploration of Mars. To that end, this bill directs NASA to establish an outpost station in orbit around the Moon which can support human missions to the Moon and Mars. 

Statements from endorsers: 

“Without question, NASA leads all other countries in space exploration and research. Passage of the Advancing Human Spaceflight Act is essential for NASA to develop advanced spacesuits to protect astronauts in establishing an outpost orbiting around the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars while maintaining the important research being conducted on board the ISS through FY2030. This is what is required to maintain NASA’s leadership in human space exploration as an integral component of America’s leadership role in the world.” said Bob Mitchell, President, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. 

“Thank you to Congresswoman Garcia for her leadership in filing legislation to ensure human settlement beyond our planet will become national policy. For decades, Texans have taken a global leadership role in setting critical goals and planning and implementing strategies to explore space. If successful, this Act will ensure that America’s civilian public agency will lead our planet in this work.” said Drew Scheberle, Executive Director, National Security Innovation Council. 

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Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2018, becoming the first Latina ever to represent the Texas 29th Congressional District. She serves on the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees.