On December 17, the House approved, by voice vote, the conference report for a bill (S. 1281) to reauthorize the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through FY2010. The Senate approved the conference report by unanimous consent on December 22. It will now go to the White House for President Bush’s signature.
Under the bill, the NASA administrator will develop a plan to maximize the number and monetary amount of contracts awarded to small businesses. S. 1281 also expands educational outreach programs “with a special emphasis on increasing the number of women and minorities in the science and engineering professions.” In addition, the measure directs the NASA administrator to establish the Dr. Mae C. Jemison Grant Program to encourage more women of color to enter the space and aeronautics field.