Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) joined Congressman Steve Knight (R-CA) and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) in announcing the creation of the House NASA Caucus. Led by co-chairs Knight and Kaptur, Crist will serve as a founding member of this new caucus aimed at bringing attention to current initiatives that advance NASA'S legacy, programmatic and resource challenges, and conversations in preparation of future public endeavors. Crist also serves on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee and its Subcommittee on Space.
The NASA Caucus was formed to help strengthen policymaker awareness of NASA’s many connections to our national security and economic interests, provide a bipartisan forum to discuss the scientific and technological challenges to American flight and space exploration endeavors, and serve as a focal point for public and private sector air and space expertise that cover the full range of NASA’s initiatives.
“Our nation’s leadership in space exploration is key to innovation, technology development, scientific discovery, and educational research – advancing our society and economy. Florida has long been a hub for space exploration and research at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which facilitates tremendous advances in both the public and private sectors,” said Rep. Crist. “I’m proud to be a founding member of the Congressional NASA Caucus, as well as serving on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, advocating for NASA’s important work fostering breakthroughs to keep us moving forward.”
Today is also the anniversary of the launch of the first NASA spacecraft, Pioneer I, in 1958. NASA and its predecessor agency the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) have led many advances in aeronautics and aerospace technology that mark significant inflection points in American and world history.
“There has been a lack of representation in the educational activities on Capitol Hill for many of NASA’s most important programs. Many of these programs that are critical to U.S. national interests, and there is an interest here to learn more and support them. But the current landscape does not yet support that level of interest,” said Rep. Knight, co-founder of the NASA Caucus. “I am proud to stand up this caucus so we can bring timely information to policymakers on these important issues related to exploration, research and development, and strategic investments vital to the future of U.S. air and space competitiveness. I look forward to working with the members of this caucus to ensure this institution has the tools it needs to build on the many contributions it has made to American achievement.”
“NASA has been a part of my life since I was a child,” Knight continued. “Last week we celebrated the 50th anniversary of my father’s record supersonic flight and this week we celebrate not only the first NASA launch, but the 70th anniversary of Chuck Yeager’s first flight to break the sound barrier. Programs at the NACA and NASA have always been able to inspire a nation to go above and beyond what is currently known and take leaps to discovery in science. I hope this caucus can stimulate that spark of hope and imagination and get us to inquire more about what NASA can offer to nation.”
“NASA’s storied history has led America to discovery and innovation unparalleled in history. Its future possibilities are endless,” said co-founder of NASA Caucus, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “As the hardworking researchers and scientists at Glenn Research Center know, for pennies on the dollar, NASA programs have fueled jobs, created new industries and inspired entire generations of Americans. Today, we are excited to announce the launch of the bipartisan NASA Caucus to honor this scientific juggernaut’s contributions to American life and to assure its continued contributions to a future further enlightened by scientific advancement.”
Crist is joined by the following 25 colleagues as founding members of the caucus: U.S. Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX), Mo Brooks (R-AL), André Carson (D-IN), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Jim Costa (D-CA), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Bill Johnson (R-OH), David Joyce (R-OH), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Pete Olson (R-TX), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Bill Posey (R-FL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), Scott Taylor (R-VA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Randy Weber (R-TX).
An official launch event to celebrate the establishment of the caucus will take place in December.